Writing Techniques in Stoker’s Dracula and Kafka’s The Metamorphosis Essay
Literature is an avenue through which an author can pass across their message about certain happenings in the society to the reader. It is a reflection of what is going on in a given community. By using different writing techniques, authors are able to appeal to the psyche and emotions of their audience. In this essay, a number of writing techniques are illustrated based on how they affect the reader. In addition, the author points out why writers make use of specific styles. To achieve these objectives, the author of this essay will use two primary texts. The narratives are ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker and Franz Kafka’s ‘The Metamorphosis’. A critical analysis of the writing styles adopted by the two authors makes it clear that the texts have an effect on the reader. To this end, it is apparent that both ‘Dracula’ and ‘The Metamorphosis’ explore horrifying fantasies through the use of different styles. The varying techniques used by the authors have various implications on the reader. Consequently, the experience of the reader interacting with the two texts is determined by how well the style used appeals to their emotions.
The Writing Styles used in “Dracula” and “The Metamorphosis”
Kafka uses a sophisticated yet simple style of writing. The technique is clearly illustrated in the use of humor in chapter 1 (Kafka 3). On their part, Bram makes use of an immediate and straightforward writing style. He achieves this through the use of imagery as seen by the note at the beginning of the text (Bram 2). Bram allows the audience to have an emotional experience. The effect is illustrated by the various journal entries used in the text (Bram 2). The same applies to Kafka, who brings entertainment to the audience through the use of humor (3).
As already mentioned, ‘Dracula’ is based on a straightforward and immediate writing style. The reality aspect of such a technique ensures that the audience has an emotional experience when interacting with the text. The following is an excerpt from Bram’s text, which transforms the audience from just a reader to a judge or juror;
“3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Buda-Pesth seems a wonderful place, from the glimpse which I got of it from the train and the little I could walk through the streets. I feared to go very far from the station, as we had arrived late and would start as near the correct time as possible” (Bram 2).
From the entry, it is apparent that Jonathan is indecisive. Jonathan has the option of departing early. However, he opts to wait for a train that departs late (Bram 2). Further, his actions and words give the impression that Buda-Pesh is an amazing destination. In spite of this, he is hesitant to leave the train station upon his arrival. At this stage, a reader becomes both a judge and a jury with regards to Jonathan’s character. On the basis of the journal entry, the audience may conclude that Jonathan is an indecisive character.
In their text, Kafka uses a style which is both complex and simple (4). Irony, humor, and anacoluthon are some of the techniques used to achieve the sophisticated writing style. It is noted that anacoluthon is a literary technique where sentences end abruptly. The writer brings the sentences to an end in an unexpected manner. The following excerpt illustrates this element clearly; “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug” (Kafka 3). The reader is expecting Kafka to provide more information about the bug in this sentence. However, this is not the case.
Anacoluthon is evident in several sections of ‘The Metamorphosis’. In the excerpt above, the reader is informed that it is morning and the young man is just waking up. However, Kafka ends the waking-up experience by informing that Gregor is now a hideous insect (3). Such a scenario creates some form of comic relief on the part of the reader. The reason is that transfiguration is not an ordinary morning experience. The effect of this style is entertainment, which is illustrated by the humorous effect of the verse.
At this juncture, it is evident that writing styles have an effect on the reader. As such, it is important to analyze the objectives of the writer as far as the use of a specific style is given. It is noted that ‘Dracula’ is a tale of horror. What this means is that the writing technique used by Bram may be intended to bring out this horrifying experience. The following excerpt outlines a portion of the horror in the text;
“The Count’s mysterious warning frightened me at the time. It frightens me more not when I think of it, (but because) in the future he has a fearful hold upon me. I shall fear to doubt what he may say!” (Bram 53).
Fear is a common response to horror. The use of journal entries legitimizes the experiences of the character in the text. Bram makes it clear that Jonathan made this entry, which shows that he (Jonathan) is afraid of the Count (53). A reader would associate themselves more with real time experiences in a journal entry than with the creations of an author. In this regard, Bram uses the straightforward style to amplify the feelings depicted in the text.
In ‘The Metamorphosis’, Kafka also displays some elements of horror. However, unlike in ‘Dracula’, Kafka prefers to use humor to ensure the audience is receptive to the core message. In an excerpt, Kafka suggests that, “…he first noticed what had really lured him there: it was the smell of something to eat. He almost laughed with joy, for he now had a much greater hunger than in the morning” (33). The horror of many days of hunger is replaced by the humor of a character who becomes more hungry at the sight of food. The author uses the technique to ensure that the reader is eager for more details.
The two texts are meant to appeal to the mental faculties of the reader. Kafka and Bram achieve this objective with some measure of success. For example, Bram provokes judgment from the reader. On their part, Kafka elicits bouts of humor from the audience. In light of this, it is clear that readers of both texts get unique experiences based on the writing styles adopted. However, it is important to note that writing style is not the only way to appeal to the psyche of an audience. As such, further research on this subject is necessary.
Bram, Stoker. Dracula, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1986. Print.
Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis, New York: Bantam, 1972. Print.
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