Friday, July 26, 2013

The Closet Case



"No one else could ever be 
admitted here, since this gate 
was made only for you. I am 
now going to shut it."
—Franz Kafka, Before the Law

You grow up in this small cramped closet. You notice that the closet door is open, but closed enough for you not to see anything out there.

The closet has this doorknob that can lock and talk. The doorknob is a guard that always says, “You may not pass without permission.”

You point out that you can easily get out of the closet, and the guard agrees. Rather than be disagreeable, however, you decide to wait until you have permission. 

You wait for many years, and when you're an old, shriveled wreck, you get yourself to ask: 

"During all the years I've waited here, no-one else has tried get out of this closet and go through the door. Why is this?" and the guard answers: 

"It’s true that no-one else has passed here, that is because this closet door was always meant solely for you, but now, that you’re dying, it’s closed forever." 

The guard then proceeds to close the door and calmly walk away. 

This is in fact, one of Kafka’s parables or short stories about being a closet-case, and it’s very typical of his style, i.e. kafkaesque.

Was Kafka a closet-case? 

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