Tuesday, November 30, 2010

*~! Expressionism !~*

Do some reflection on another work by an artist, writer, or musician that you’ve been introduced to in class.

     In class we read Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” which was, in a nut shell, about a traveling salesman who awakes one morning and realizes that he has been transformed into a giant cockroach. He is obviously having some sort of psychological experience and Kafka does an excellent job of executing this nightmarish scenario. Because I enjoyed this work, I decided to look up another short story written by Kafka; “The Vulture” (Below). This story is about a young man being attacked by a vulture and allows the vulture to eat at his legs rather than his face hoping the vulture would leave once it’s finished with the man’s legs. Another man comes along and offers to shoot the vulture but he has to go home to get his gun. Right after the man leaves to get his gun, the vulture pecks the young man’s head with his beak and kills him. Kafka is known for writing about struggles and “The Vulture” is no exception. The young man couldn’t drive the vulture away and finally gave up becoming helpless. The vulture could represent the hardships in life essentially. He was going to continue to eat the man’s legs no matter what. In life, you are going to have continuous struggles and obstacles to prevail over up until the time of death. In this case, the vulture overheard the two men talking of shooting him, so he took action and killed the young man first. This goes along with Darwin’s idea of the survival of the fittest. The vulture took action in order to save his own life. This story is a typical Kafka story and the reader is put in an uncomfortable position because there is suffering, then Kafka gives us hope when the other man comes along and offers to help the young man. But then Kafka hits us with an unfortunate event in the end when the man is killed evoking some time of emotion in the reader which is a characteristic of the expressionist period.
     I also compared “The vulture” to an expressionist painting I found entitled “Against the Green Wall” by Chriss Pagani (Below). The title itself could be suggestive because there is a common expression where someone is said to have their “backs against the wall” when they are overwhelmed with too many things at one time. They can become helpless. In this painting, there is a weather girl who is fed up with all the lies and deception she brings to her viewers on the weather, so she commits suicide right in front of the screen where she broadcasts from. There is suffering, such as in “The Vulture” because of her job from day to day. There is helplessness because she feels there is nothing she can do to fix her problem at work. Finally, there is the similar unfortunate event where the woman kills herself. It, too makes the viewer a little uncomfortable and ties into the expressionist period by playing on the mind of the viewers just like Kafka.

“The Vulture” by Franz Kafka
A vulture was hacking at my feet. It had already torn my boots and stockings to shreds, now it was hacking at the feet themselves. Again and again it struck at them, then circled several times restlessly round me, then returned to continue its work. A gentleman passed by, looked on for a while, then asked me why I suffered the vulture. "I'm helpless," I said. "When it came and began to attack me, I of course tried to drive it away, even to strangle it, but these animals are very strong, it was about to spring at my face, but I preferred to sacrifice my feet. Now they are almost torn to bits." "Fancy letting yourself be tortured like this!" said the gentleman. "One shot and that's the end of the vulture." "Really ?" I said. "And would you do that?" "With pleasure," said the gentleman, "I've only got to go home and get my gun. Could you wait another half hour?" "I'm not sure about that," said I, and stood for a moment rigid with pain. Then I said: "Do try it in any case, please." "Very well," said the gentleman, "I'll be as quick as I can." During this conversation the vulture had been calmly listening, letting its eye rove between me and the gentleman. Now I realized that it had understood everything; it took wing, leaned far back to gain impetus, and then, like a javelin thrower, thrust its beak through my mouth, deep into me. Falling back, I was relieved to feel him drowning irretrievably in my blood, which was filling every depth, flooding every shore.

 "Against the Green Wall" by Chriss Pagani

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