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Yet we must constantly keep in mind the historical reality of Kafka’s time: he was not speaking metaphorically. A man could go to sleep an employed Jew and wake up the next morning as vermin. A Jew could study at the university and yet find himself called a dog. In German and Austrian anti-Semitic political publications, Jews were frequently referred to as “rats,” “mice,” “insects,” and “vermin.” If a person can go to sleep a Jew and wake up transformed into some kind of “vermin,” what is to prevent an animal going to sleep a dog and waking up a person? It is as if Kafka took that reality, the ever-present possibility of being referred to as some sort of animal, and pondered what it would be to truly become an animal.
— Hadea Nell Kriesberg, from “Czechs, Jews and Dogs Not Allowed”: Identity, Boundary, and Moral Stance in Kafka’s ‘A Crossbreed’ and ‘Jackals and Arabs’” (via kakfa)

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