A careful study of some of Franz Kafka's most well-known creatures, and an exploration into the fantastical worlds in which they inhabit, will serve to open up an understanding of them that departs from a human-based appraisal. The pieces up for examination indispensably include his famous novella, The Metamorphosis, and four of his short stories: Investigations of a Dog, A Report to an Academy, Josephine, the Singer, or the Mouse-folk, and lastly, A Hunger Artist. Kafka's stories as a rule are characterized by an abstract restlessness critics cite as having been drawn from his personal afflictions of alienation, and a sense of homelessness.
It is presumably also not a coincidence that, with the exception of his novels, his subjects and protagonists are often of a nonhuman animal variety, or otherwise implicated in the text as so. Furthermore, if not nonhuman animals, these protagonists are either at some physical or mental stage in development that is strained by the other. The Metamorphosis is the story of a salesman-cum-vermin who, still retaining the faculty of language, is in his condition tormented by human thought; the narrator of Investigations of a Dog is a discerning canine who has returned from some enlightenment to survey his fellow dogs; Rotpeter of A Report to an Academy is an ape who initially describes himself as having long been adapted to human society.
[...] It is curious that for all of the mouse massacres which occur due to her performances, Josephine always leaves unblemished. What is more, she still manages to get a flock of people to convene anywhere and anytime she decides to set up her next performance. However, not only does Josephine's unnatural singing hurt her people, it is fundamentally harmful to her. She is so extraordinarily ambitious that even as she is becoming older, she refuses to let her “voice” go. [...]
[...] He sees it as a notch higher than languishing away for public display in the most advanced zoo. Ironically, by choosing the second alternative, Rotpeter has consigned himself to not only being put up for public display, but as an interactive image for public amusement, which would allow him to showcase his greatest skills, earning recognition, and by extension, acceptance. Harel notes through Rothfels' findings that the many apes captured in Africa and brought to Europe at the turn of the twentieth century “were trained to act like humans, and like Rotpeter they performed alcohol-drinking, cigarette-smoking, hand-shaking, and other human gestures” (56). [...]
using our reader.