"The Judgement” is a short story written by Kafka in 1912. “The Judgment” is considered to be one of Kafka’s most autobiographical writings. He wrote the story in one setting in a single night of writing. It is also said that the story is based on the night he met his fiancée Felice Bauer at his friend Max Brod’s house. After their meeting Kafka had to choose between his life as a bachelor or the life of a family man.
Kafka was a perfectionist and this is apparent in his approach to “The Judgement”. Kafka saw writing as a form of meditation like prayer. He felt that he could never truly convey into works the ideas and feelings that he had within himself.
The story begins on a Sunday morning. The main character, George, is in a content frame of mind. George lives in a city that is has a river running on its edge. Across the river lie the hills. The bridge is significant to the story and symbolizes communication. The first part of the story is about a letter Georg is writing to his friend. He writes the letter to inform his friend of his engagement to Frieda. Frieda wants his friend to attend the wedding to help bring an end to Georg’s bachelor days.
Georg tells his father about writing the letter to his friend. His father is harsh with him and says he does not believe his friend exists. Father and son argue and eventually his father sentences him to death by drowning. George leaves his father’s side and throws himself off the city bridge.
The story is full of symbolism and is autobiographical in nature because it parallels Kafka’s own feelings on being tied down and loosing his bachelor life. It also parallels the tumultuous relationship he had with his own father.