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What makes something Kafkaesque?

The term Kafkaesque has entered the vernacular to describe unnecessarily complicated and frustrating experiences, especially with bureaucracy.

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But does standing in a long line to fill out confusing paperwork really capture the richness of Kafka’s vision? Beyond the word’s casual use, what makes something “Kafkaesque”?


• Well-known
Her sister works for a well-known publishing company.

• Bewildering
He gave me directions to his house, but I found them so utterly bewildering I got lost

.• Unnecessarily
The administrative procedures are unnecessarily complicated.

• Bureaucracy
They felt government bureaucracy had vanquished the muses.

• Compelled
The rain compelled us to stay indoors.

• Struggle
He has been struggling with the problem of how to keep good workers from leaving.

• Ordeal
Throughout the ordeal of her husband's funeral, she was a model of self-control .

• Pointless
Everything was over It seemed pointless to continue.

• Unwilling
He seems to be unwilling to compromise.

• Unworthy
She thought he was unworthy of his promotion

• Awaken
A loud noise awakened her

.• Starve
They left him to starve out in the desert.

• Momentum
The movie loses momentum toward the end.

• Unstoppable
The immovable object dealt with the usually unstoppable force.

• Fine-tuning
That gives a welcome opportunity to fine-tune the arrangements if occasion demands.

• Shortcomings
The main shortcoming of this camera is that it uses up batteries quickly.

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