On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book. Today I’m looking at two classics I recently read: Franz Kafka’s The Trial and H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man.
In some ways, these are inversions of each other. Kafka’s work is invisible justice for a visible man, while Wells’ portrays visible justice for an invisible man. In The Trial, K. is put on trial for seemingly no reason in a court that seems to make the rules up as it goes along. This is eerily reminiscent of what would become of the Jewish people across Europe during WWII. It’s also worth noting that all of Kafka’s works were banned under the Nazi regime. This week is banned books week, which makes that particularly interesting. I found it interesting that the character, although given the first name of Josef, is often referred to simply as K. Perhaps, Kafka was placing himself within the frame of this character- feeling persecuted or under a struggle. Considering that this book was never finished (one chapter states it was never finished, but subsequent chapters are and still there is a satisfying conclusion) I wondered if Kafka felt confined by something such as writer’s block or creative disruption.
In The Invisible Man, a scientific discovery turns a man invisible and he is then faced with the moral implications of that new life. Must he follow the rules any more? Does his invisibility render him capable of escaping that life of justice? Unlike The Trial, justice is prominent throughout The Invisible Man through the inclusion of police and moral judgements on the crimes that are committed. Like Kafka, H.G. Wells’ works were also banned under the Nazis.
Both of these works are worth reading and offer some interesting moral grounds to mull over. Which do you think is more dangerous: invisible people, without moral holds on their lives, or invisible justice which randomly targets the public?
**As a special note to authors and all clients of Extra Ink Edits, it is often said that reading is vitally important to writers. It is true that one must read within the genre that one writes, but I’d also encourage you to delve into the classics. Books that are classics have a staying power that translates into something worth studying. More often that not, it’s the characters and the situations that they must face that stand out as the defining elements of these works. Though dialogue, setting, even theme to an extent, may change with passing years, the traits of a stand-out character remain largely the same.
Also, as mentioned above, The Trial was not finished. This means that Franz Kafka wrote the book out of order. He skipped over ending one part to write the next. I often tell writers that it’s not important what order you write in, so long as you write. Indeed, if you write passages that you are particularly excited about, rather than just writing filler, your work will often come more alive. Just try not to be like Kafka in this instance and make sure that you do finish all the story and fill in all necessary connections! :)**
My best to you all,