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Written by Aleksei Marchyn
America itself is an allegory of the fact that in the far end of the world everything is the same (even if this is not real America, and America is in Kafka's view). If you are in this world uncomfortable, you will be uncomfortable everywhere, under any conditions: with money and without it, with women and without them, with clothes and without it, with habitation and without it. Karl Rosman, however, can not understand this, so he adds and adds various combinations of these objects, trying to do something worthwhile. The novel is incomplete, so it does not work. From the very "AmeriKa" one is suffocating. Rather, she squeezes the hoop to the impossibility of breathing, it drives into the brain, despite the desperate resistance and rejection. A novel becomes easier when one breaks away from the reality of what is happening. When you see allegories, not events it plays with the beauty of the images and the acceptance of the situation.
Sword in the hands of the Statue of Liberty (symbol)
The sword in the hands of the Statue of Liberty can be seen as a symbol of Karl Rosman’s impending fight for his place in the sun. The image of America, created by Kafka, is very far from the then widespread idea of this country as a state of unlimited possibilities, where dreams become reality, and barefooted boys turn into millionaires. In Kafka America is a country of beggars and the unemployed, a terrible civilization of consumption, where man is no less unhappy and lonely than in Europe.
Important for understanding of the novel "Amerika" is the image of the ship (it is here that the action of the entire first chapter unfolds), connected on the one hand with the symbols of search, wandering. On the other hand, the ship is a symbol of salvation (remember the famous Noah's Ark). And, finally, the ship is a transitional space between the terrestrial and water elements and even between life and death. The ship for Karl Rosmann is the place of transition from the old patriarchal European world to a new light, America, the border separating it from the parental home, the beginning of an independent existence. This is the transition from ordinary life to the constant struggle for existence and finally from life to death.
Going on the road (albeit not on his own), Karl Rosmann yearns to find in the new world material prosperity, stability, social security. The ship serves as a symbol of hope for a better life, but does not become a symbol of salvation. Noah's Ark, like any enclosed space is perceived by Kafka as a prison. Thus the symbolic filling of the image of the ship anticipates the fruitless wanderings of Karl Rosmann described hereafter, the inability to find oneself in a new life and, finally, the unspecified but supposed death.
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I forgot to say that I have one piece of evidence that chimney sweepers in the 19th century also did window cleaning for an extra small fee or to get a tip. This was in London but I'm looking for medieval or ancient sources. Thank you.