An Analysis of Key Ideas of Deconstruction through Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Abstract

In On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense, Friedrich Nietzsche challenged the correspondence theory of linguistic truth, suggesting that the inherently analogous nature of linguistic reason renders even the most foundational of truths to be illusory metaphors. Following in this distinctly anti-metaphysical strand of continental philosophy, Jacques Derrida formed a deconstructive method of reading where this Nietzschean approach to linguistic truth is imbued with a further ethico-political dimension. This entails undermining the ostensibly immutable and neutral character of metaphysical binaries inherent to our method of contradistinctive reason, instead presenting these binaries as rationally unstable hierarchies. This paper intends to apply such a method of reading to Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, whereby methods of human reason are immediately undermined as the protagonist’s unexplained and inexplicable metamorphosis into an insect occurs in the first sentence. Most prominently, this paper aims to discuss how Kafka deconstructs the metaphysical distinction between man and animal and the hierarchical relation implicit in this distinction. This distinction is particularly pertinent to Nietzschean scepticism towards linguistic reason, given both that our language remains a fundamentally human construct and the Aristotelian-scholastic notion of man as a ‘rational animal’.

Keywords

anthropocentrism, metaphysics, logocentrism, binaries, deconstruction, literature theory, post-structuralism, Derrida, Kafka, Nietzsche

How to Cite

Price A., (2018) “An Analysis of Key Ideas of Deconstruction through Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis”, Fields: journal of Huddersfield student research 4(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/fields.2018.05

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Amelia Price

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