Pomoc!

   The text consists of the character’s inner monologues (paraphrased by the narrator), and employs the vocabulary and style of Standard Czech. It borrows certain philosophical terms and explores words and phrases that are not frequent in daily speech. The language is emotive as well as subjective. The story contains repetition and rephrasing of words, reflecting an individual’s attempt to grasp and to define reality and his perception and understanding.
   This story comes from Boží muka [Wayside Crosses, 1917], a collection of Karel Čapek’s early tales. Here Čapek not only breaks the traditional, coherent and cohesive structure of a tale, but also combines an epic plot line with lyricism. Instead of providing a clear point of view and illustrating an idea, Čapek offers stories without a closure; each story therefore hosts more than one meaning. The narrator has access to the mind of a story character, but this does not result in a deeper understanding of the latter’s motivation or behavior. By presenting an actual world as something that cannot be measured, weighed, counted and comprehended, Čapek’s stories lead the reader to recognize the impossibility of distinguishing between the objective and the subjective, the outer and the inner, and the fatal and the banal.
   The content of the story also calls for a philosophical question: what is beyond someone’s personal world? Is there any connection between the inner and the outer reality? Is it possible to reach a catharsis or recognition? Can one distance oneself from one’s routine integrity?