My Interpretation: Franz Kafka's "A Message from the Emperor."

A young man sits dreaming out his window, looking out across the sky at the beautiful sunset and the painted sky.  He dreams of another life and as his mind wanders he dreams of receiving recognition, just once, through the attention of the man his people honor with the title of "emperor."  He realizes that it is just a title, and the man is an ordinary man, but the title still makes this man special and revered.  So special, in fact, that they are willing to move walls and structures in order for people to honor this man.  The boy sits and dreams and imagines this "emperor" as weak and dying and in the midst of his great weakness the "emperor"sends a message to this Chinese boy who sits at the edge of the empire.  To the boy, he recognizes the reality that a thing like this would never happen, but in his fantasy he also realizes that a message like this would never make it to him, because he is too unimportant and too far off and there are too many people who would get in the way.  Nonetheless, he dreams that he would be recognized.

Reading this famous short story reminded me of a similar desire in my youth when I attended revival meetings.  At revival meetings the "great prophet," or so they name him/her, usually calls out to a person or two and signals them out in a special way.  Or if they don't signal out a person from the audience they signal themselves out by telling the story of how they as an unknown name was once singled out of a crowd just like this one.  The story of Elijah and Elisha brought to life in contemporary times.  Or when I would attend the Women of Faith conference, somewhat due to my mother's promptings, I would hope and dream that someday one of the women would approach me and say, "God has told me that you are to replace me someday."  That sense of insignificance that hopes and dreams of someday having significance.

I know there are many interpretations of Kafka's short stories, but I thought I would take a risk and send out to the world one of my own interpretations.  In many ways I think blogging was once quite Kafkaish - the turning on the head of the world's order for being special or getting attention.  Unfortunately, blogging has become the new portal to the writing industry and thus it has become the unsatisfiable dream...  to write and be caught, to write and become popular, so that perhaps your book might become published.  The blog used to be the place of the commoner's voice, but it is becoming the place where once again the commoner's voice is lost to the new elite.

And so us bloggers now sit at our windows "and dream it up as evening falls." (Franz Kafka)

To read A modern Translation


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