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《Journal of Zhejiang University(Humanities and Social Sciences)》 2004-04
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On Kafka's Space Consciousness

ZHANG De-ming (Department of chinese Language and literature, Zhejiang University,Hangzhou 310028,China)  
Space consciousness constitutes a notable feature in Kafka's fictions. In his novels and short stories, space is not only a background for actions of the protagonists, but also a symbol of their existing conditions. Most characters of his fictions live in the situation of anxiety of space, which is sometimes expressed as an anxiety to seek for an un-accessible space or a struggle for protection of private space. Thus, this space consciousness offers not only a reliable approach to the world of Kafka's, but also an important clue to understand the features of the narrative aesthetics of the 20-Century fictions. There are three kinds of narrative spaces in Kafka's major fictions and short stories, which form a context for interpretation. They are private space, transition space, and unachievable or transcend space.In most of Kafka's writings, space is linked with identity, both individually and culturally. If a private space shows a space worriment for a marginal person, the transition space is a non-place for an exile. For example, the cave is a private space for the unnamed animal in The Ground-cave, while the door is the symbol of the identity of non-place in Confrontation of the Door of Law and the Other Stories. As a transition space, the door is situated at two spheres between inside and outside, here and there, center and marginal. On the other hand, the door in Metamorphosis separates two worlds, worm's and man's, father's and son's. The worm-person crawls through the two worlds by his body, measuring the dimensions of the human nature. Contextually, the structure of the space of Metamorphosis contains the features of both The Ground-cave and The Castle. George the person-worm can be acknowledged as K, the protagonist of The Castle and the unnamed animal in The Ground-cave. His house, especially his bedroom, has both the space characteristics of the cave and the castle, which are public and private, closed and open, accessible and un-accessible. The unachievable and transcendent space is the most prominent in Kafka's fictions, as in The Castle and The Construction of the Great Wall, throngh which the writer expresses his viewpoint of human being's competence of the unlimited. As a physical individual he has limitations in understanding a metaphysic sphere, but as a spiritual presence he can keep seeking for it, undeviating and surpassing it eventually in his imagination.
【CateGory Index】: I5
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