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Critical Analysis

Each morning a person rises from slumber. A new adventure awaiting. There is no certainty; we are unaware of the future that anxiously awaits our arrival. Throughout the day, a person encounters curiosity, questions, discoveries and challenges. The mind begins to scatter and roams beyond our imagination. Kafka was a writer whose thought continued regardless of day or night. His mind drew visions while he slept, and upon his awakening, he wrote his visions with words. A time where our history was in its process, an extraordinary, academically inclined young man was experiencing its intensity. Kafka uses an occurrence in a small village to display a simple mans struggle for recognition. By using this incidence, Franz Kafka portrays two essential aspects of a growing world during the early 1900's. Kafka, briefly, with the use of science, touches the importance of individuals and the crucial participation of society in his symbolic story, "The Village Schoolmaster" (The Giant Mole). A village schoolmaster makes a discovery of "the giant mole". The schoolmaster's discovery is out of the ordinary, something oblivious and unheard of. When such discoveries come to surface, they are recognized, observed and studied. This is the basis of any scientific theory. This is the basis and the ultimate goal that the schoolmaster wants to accomplish. He is a simple man with a family and the burden of responsibility; his discovery of the giant mole. In order for the schoolmaster to obtain his goal he must get the attention of higher authorities. People whose knowledge and position are great value. The schoolmaster prints out copies of his accounts of the mole and it's existence. "His little pamphlet was printed and a good many copies were sold to visitors to the village about that time; it also received some public recognition, but the teacher was wise enough to perceive that his fragmentary labors, in which no one supported him, were basically without value." (Kafka pg. 169) His discovery was disregarded. A scholar remarked, "The soil in your neighborhood is particularly black and rich. Consequently it provides the moles with particularly rich nourishment, and so they grow to an unusual size." (Kafka, Pg. 169) The scholar believed that the rich soil provided such abnormal growth, and in return the village schoolmaster says "But not to such a size as that! Oh and why not?" (Kafka, Pg. 169) replied the scholar. The scholar was a known man and his verdicts were highly regarded. The scholar referred to this incident as "a great joke" (Kafka, pg. 169). There existed a phenomenon, a scientific discovery, but a simple village schoolmaster lacked "equipment", which could make it possible "for him to produce an exhaustive description that could be used as a foundation by others, far less, therefore, an actual explanation for the occurrence" (Kafka, pg. 168). Kafka uses the discovery of the mole as a frame. He uses science as a background to develop two essential aspects, individuals and society, in a maturing world.

Basically, there is an individual, he is a part of society that consists of numerous characters. Where he lives, how he eats, what he understands and why he thinks what he thinks is his identity. The amount of education that he gains is critical, it places him at a certain level within society. There are various societies within societies and they are all a part of our growing world. The village schoolmaster "was an excellent man in his own profession". To his knowledge, he made a great discovery. In order for the recognition of his discovery, he knew he had to reach a part of society that was educated and highly notable. Their reaction (the gentleman) to the pamphlet was "The pamphlet on the giant mole has once more been sent to us. Years ago we remember having had a hearty laugh over it. Since then it has not become more intelligible, nor we more hard of understanding. But we simply refuse to laugh at it a second time"(Kafka, pg. 174). To these "representatives" of higher society "the giant mole" was a joke. It bared no significance to their culture, to their part of society. "Many people come from great distances out of pure curiosity, there were even foreigners among them; it was only those who should have shown something more than curiosity that refrained from coming" (Kafka, pg.168). There are two groups of people included in this enormous society. The curious individuals and the authoritative individuals, each hold an important role. Curiosity lures some and ignorance gives power to the others. Still, in this society exists a businessman. In his profession, he relies solely upon his own credentials. He sells his product to society, he enters the story. His character understands the village schoolmaster. He understands the challenges that the schoolmaster faces to bring forth the discovery of the mole. "When I read of the scholar's attitude toward the old man I was not yet aquainted with the teacher's pamphlet. But I once resolved to collect and correlate all of the information that I could discover regarding the case. I could at least write a defense of the teacher, or more exactly, of the good intentions of an honest but uninfluential man" (Kafka, pg. 170). The businessman wants to do good. He wants to provide his services to the simple schoolmaster. These are numerous characters that make up a society. Each has their on intention, their own goal, their own opinion. The remaining story is built upon conflicts. The struggle of a man defending his discovery. The struggle of a businessman trying to convince the schoolmaster of his sincere and his honest intention. The misunderstanding between the schoolmaster and the businessman only makes matters more complex but both their goals were to bring about the existence of the giant mole, and the genuine honesty of the village schoolmaster. To express his anger, the schoolmaster wrote in a letter "the world is full of malice, and people smooth the path for it" (Kafka, pg. 175). He directed his statement to the businessman. The businessman defended himself and stepped aside from this affair after justifying his cause. "In a certain sense you have become my teacher, and I have decided; you are the discoverer, and all that I can do is to prevent you from gaining possible fame, while I attract failure and pass it on to you. At least that is your own opinion. Enough of that"

(Kafka, pg. 176). The two individuals stand beside their opinions and their causes. They want the rest of society to listen and acknowledge. Kafka uses an entire story, an incident that occurs in a small neighborhood as a symbol. He shows the importance of individualism through two significant characters, a village schoolmaster and a respectable businessman. He uses the giant mole as a basis for any debatable issue. Kafka includes two extremes of society, a pheasant and a gentleman. He creates a society and within it, he produces differences, conflicts, and politics. He defines the importance of educated individuals and the disregarding of the illiterate. "The Village Schoolmaster" is Franz Kafka's vision of an individuals struggle in society and accelerate in hopes of achieving success.

The village Goldsmith is writing about is called "Auburn": it is not real, but an imaginary ideal one, possibly one of the villages he had observed as a child and a young man in Ireland and England. Goldsmith, the poet, returns to the village that he knew as vibrant and alive, and finds it deserted and overgrown. The setting of the particular passage is described in the first three lines. Then Goldsmith discusses the character of the schoolmaster himself. In his appearance, he is very severe and stern. The reader would suppose him humourless, except that he likes to tell jokes. When Goldsmith says "the boding tremblers learn'd to trace/The days disasters in his morning face," the reader comes to understand that the schoolmaster does not mince his words. In the last two lines, he indicates that the schoolmaster was no more. All of his fame has gone and "the spot/Where many a time he triumph'd is forgot The schoolmaster was a big presence in the village. In an age when literacy and numeracy were powerful the people of the village, looked up to him. He seems a kind of god. The children are fearful of him. They laugh at his jokes, even if they are not funny. Full well (9-10) The adults are equally impressed with the way he can survey fields ("lands he could measure", 17) and work out boundaries or the times of holy-days like Easter. He can even do more complex calculations ("gauge", 18). This is all ironic: the schoolteacher appears knowledgeable to the "gazing rustics" (22). The poem's jokes are gentle. The tone of the poem is balanced and gentleness and humour imply a frame of mind that Goldsmith sees as important, as having a moral value in itself.

Goldsmith is quietly mocking the schoolmaster: he is big fish in a small pond. He can impress the villagers with his learning, just because he can read a bit of Latin and knows how to do his sums. The parson, as the religious leader of the village, is of course the most respected man, but the schoolmaster loves a good argument and keeps arguing even when defeated(19-20). On the other hand, this is a loving, endearing portrait. Here's a man who is modest and doing a good job in a quiet and simple place: helping to spread a little literacy and numeracy among the people of the village, helping them in doing calculations about "terms". He is at the centre of a community - and Goldsmith is mourning the passing away of that community, the passing away of the village itself. That is why the lovely yellow flowers on the furze are "unprofitably gay" (2) - there is now no-one about to enjoy their beauty. The schoolmaster is gone long ago, with all the children of his school. A fine community has been lost. So, this is an affectionate portrait of a community that is no more, and the schoolhouse now deserted. The affectionate portrait of the schoolmaster is a part of this world that has passed away.