Kafka and My Son

To start with, from Books Inq.  The Last Days of Kafka.

Now to the relationship with my son.  I may have narrated how recently in a book-buying blitz, my son (11) chose from all of the possibilities a small volume of Kafka's short stories.  Now, I wouldn't push Kafka on anyone, 11 or otherwise, and I'm fully cognizant that being 11 my son will not derive from Kafka all there is to get.  On the other hand, exposure to great, if weird literature, is always a good thing.  Son dutifully read "The Metamorphosis" and reported back to his mother on the details of it.  His mother, not being entomoligcally tolerant succinctly expressed her views about any human sympathetic to or being one with the Dictyoptera.  Which, of course, produced much merriment and a search on Son's part for more such to share with his mother. 

Well, the other day we were at Disney and riding around on the steam engine train that circles the park.  Our seats got somewhat crowded as an extended family from North Carolina joined us.  Son took up a conversation immediately as is his wont and discovering that the woman he was speaking with was a teacher asked her if she had read "The Metamorphosis."  The response was yes and she didn't like it/did like it seemed ambivalent about it.  Son rejoined, "While I don't think it's really likely that a person could turn into a cockroach, I do think that the mean way everyone treated him is something that can happen."

So I guess he got more out of reading it than I might have supposed upon initial inspection.  Strikes me that understanding alienation is a pretty advanced concept for one so young. 

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