Exploring Global Issues in Kafka’s Short Stories

The Sudden Stroll


GI: How one’s true identity is shaped and concealed by their family


Kafka uses a series of high uncertainty words to reveal the lack of choices and control the protagonist possesses at the “house”, thus indicating the limited ways that the protagonist represents himself. Where, in line 1, the author writes “seem to have fully made up your mind” (1) in describing the character’s decision of staying at home, the phrase “seem to have” gives this choice a high uncertainty and reflects that the protagonist lacks the confidence to make such decision at home. Secondly, the “instantly appear” (13) used to describe the action of going out strengthens the idea of the protagonist lacking choice and control. When he is finally on the streets, Kafka includes the description of “limbs” (18) that reflects the protagonist’s unrealistic feeling of being outside, that he only knows where he is based on the physical feeling, but not cognitively.

Achieving the same effect, Kafka also uses words of passive voice to achieve similar effect. In line 5, Kafka uses the word “habitually” to describe the action of “going to bed” the protagonist carries out, indicating the routine-like behavior that the protagonist follows very often. Moreover, the use of “causing…a matter of course” (6) and “unexpected freedom” (19) are other places where passive voice indicate the protagonist’s lack of power.

Finally, towards the end of the story, Kafka directly addresses the issue by stating that the protagonist has “withdrawn from [his] family” and became a “sharply defined black silhouette” (26). This implies that in order to find his true place and comfort zone, the protagonist had to escape his family. Moreover, on the line after, Kafka explicitly includes the words “true stature” to clearly address this issue.