Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kafkaesque and Methamphetamine

Kafka's Has clearly made a substantial influence on modern literature. I mean, his name in adjectival form has been incorporated into the accepted English language: Kafkaesque. Something that is Kafkaesque, in the simple sense, has a nightmarish or surreal quality. In season three of Breaking Bad, Jesse (one of the main characters) feels oppressed because the regional distributor, Gus, is making more than $96 million on the methamphetamine* that Walter and he are only earning $3 million from. He feels cheated, but Walter reminds him that he should be happy being a millionaire. Earlier in the series, Jesse's girlfriend died of an overdose-induced asphyxiation. Though he now has money, Jesse does not feel satisfied. At his rehab/therapy session, Jesse describes his situation in vague terms, and his counsellor says his life sounds Kafkaesque. Jesse continues with his life: he can't escape or Gus will kill him. He feels like he's in a nightmare.
     Perhaps staying moderately happy than getting sucked (rather involuntarily) into the world of intense drug trafficking. Similarly, it is evident in Kafka's Metamorphosis that Gregor would prefer to be a human than a vermin (though he does not show that in Part 1).

I neither support nor recommend a job in the drug trade. Carry on now!

1 comment:

Ross said...

Another modern example of Kafka's influence can be found in the newspaper cartoon Dilbert. On the surface, the cartoon seems to be just the hyperbole of usually issues at work and life in general, but it actually presents several philosophical and Kafkaesque elements to its viewers. One could even say that Dilbert lives under a Kafkaesque bureaucracy. I actually found this article on this subject that was pretty interesting to read: