Odradek: This is a word’s world, but it would be nothing without the creature, or the text

Arash Shokrisaravi


“The Cares of a Family Man”, Kafka’s 474-word text has attracted the minds of a number of inspiring philosophers and literary critics such as Walter Benjamin, Werner Hamacher, and J. Hillis Miller. The magnificence of this piece of writing is the unique relationship between the word “Odradek” and the creature with the same name; that is what this essay is mostly concentrated on, and where the paradoxes in Hamacher and Miller's studies of this story show up; points such as the significant difference between being meaningless and meaning meaningless, and the extremely specific name-named relation in this particular text, an arrow that just points and refuses to dedicate any sort of meaning to the named entity. Following these, this essay proposes a study of “Biodegradable” by Derrida in order to erect a critical analysis of Hamacher and Miller’s endeavor to decompose the word Odradek. The discussion will be continued in the second chapter then on the connections between Odradek-Hausvater and Speech-Logos, based on a critical reading of Derrida’s “Disseminations”, in particular on the metaphor of “The Father of Logos”. In the end, a few patterns will be proposed for the twofold set of Odradek-Hausvater, and the concepts of voice, death, and boundary will be investigated.


Deconstruction, Derrida, Kafka, Hamacher

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