The castaway: a comparative study of alienation in Franz Kafka's "The Trial" and J.M. Coetzee's "Foe"


This thesis is a comparative study of alienation. It provides an analysis of the different ways in which the Czech writer, Franz Kafka, and the South African writer, J.M. Coetzee delineate alienation in their works, The Trial and Foe. Three aspects of alienation are discussed: alienation from self, world and language. Hence, the thesis emphasizes that manâ s predicament of alienation, homelessness and exile stems from a failure to recognize a self to which he can relate, an inability to find a home in an alien universe and an incapacity to develop a constructive relationship with words and language. This study not only focuses on manâ s existential predicament of alienation, but it also reveals that alienation is an experience that writer and reader go through in their encounter with a work of art. Thus, this study also explores the nature of a work of art and is concerned with the effects of literature on the reader.


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Date of Award


Online Submission Date

January 2013

First Advisor

Nimis, Stephen

Committee Member 1

Nimis, Stephen

Committee Member 2

Melaney, William

Document Type



98 p.


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