The Cares of a Family Man is a short story by Franz Kafka about a creature called Odradek. The creature has drawn the attention of many philosophers and literary critics, who have all attempted to interpret its meaning. The story was written between 1914 and 1917.
The story begins with a discussion of the unclear linguistic origin of the name Odradek, followed by a detailed description of the creature. The narrator goes on to describe the creature’s other characteristics, including its habits, environment, and manner of conversation, and in the end wonders about the Odradek’s future, and the painful notion that it might outlive him. Odradek appears to represent an object with no clear purpose or apparent use.- uncategorisable
The object’s apparent uselessness, when seen in the light of the existential dread pervading the last paragraph, can be understood as underlining the narrator’s lack of purpose. Kafka’s absurdist writing emphasizes the meaninglessness of its subjects’ lives.
Article from Frieze Magazine ‘Odradek’, a group show 2018
‘Odradek’, 2018 is an exhibition that is currently on show at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden. ( installation image top of post by Katinka Bock)