Literature as a Form of Narration: The Issue of Conscience in the Works of Kafka and Dostoevsky

Ayşe Koncavar

Abstract


Conscience is a phenomenon that’s been emphasized in many religions, philosophical schools of thought and mysticism. According to philosophy, conscience, which warns the person by means of providing a sense of inner peace or discontentment, is not solely a concept but the talent possessed by a person. On the other hand, dialectic argues that conscience is the result of a person’s breeding and knowledge determined by the social conditions in which the person lives in. Conscience is an internal voice that distinguishes the right from wrong.In literature, there are certain stories and heroes that are worth being studied meticulously and with attention. For example, Kafka, who describes the fundamental issues brought about by the modern era, has tried to disclose the truth of the century we are living in its rawest and naked form. In his writing, Kafka has always chosen allegorical and metaphorical narratives and through the characters he created, has emphasized the bureaucracy, alienation and the estrangement of human beings from humanistic values. In one of his stories, he tells the story of Gregor Samsa who turns into metamorphoses into a cockroach while in another story, he tells the tragic end of a character who has been sentenced to an undeserved punishment by a bureaucracy that exists outside of himself because of a crime he did not commit.Another example from literary texts will be Dostoyevsky. The love towards those small and poor people as well as the pity felt towards those empty and ridiculous men that live in the society, which is a common theme in the Russian literature, can be witnessed in his novels.At this point, Dostoyevsky as well as Kafka, take a critical look at the system through literature and have provided us with examples of conscience by means of questioning the system through the characters they created.Our subject matter in this text is to reveal that literature, in my opinion the most influential form of which is poetry followed by the novel, is actually an art form in which human beings as well as all concepts pertaining to human beings and to examine the relationship between literature and conscience.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2013.v3n7p742


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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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