Friday, March 7, 2008

Kafka and Zeno's Paradox

As you know, this is an English class, not a Math class. But sometimes, especially in works of sureralism or magical realism, philisophical or mathmatical paradoxes can act as supporting actors in framing the text. Think of how Zeno's Paradox could frame some of the the ideas of conflict in "The Metamorphosis"
Zeno's Paradox may be paraphrased as follows:
Suppose I wish to cross the room. First, of course, I must cover half the distance. Then, I must cover half the remaining distance. Then, I must cover half the remaining distance. Then I must cover half the remaining distance . . . and so on forever. The consequence is that I can never get to the other side of the room.
What this actually does is to make all motion impossible, for before I can cover half the distance I must cover half of half the distance, and before I can do that I must cover half of half of half of the distance, and so on, so that in reality I can never move any distance at all, because doing so involves moving an infinite number of small intermediate distances first.
So, we never get anywhere.
Motion is impossible.
See what biographical information you can unearth about Kafka that might contribute to the tone of "The Metamorphosis." How would social,political, and personal factors convey Kafka's view of life through his literature?
After watching the Salvador Dali video in class, I was astounded at the way motion was used in conjunction with the surealistic images. What did you think? Did Dali convey a message or was it all unconscoius mumbo-jumbo?

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