In a letter to his fiancee, Kafka wrote
"I am reminded of a teacher who, on reading Homer's Iliad to us, often used to say: 'Too bad one has to read this with the likes of you. You cannot possibly understand it, and even when you think you do, you don't understand a thing. One has to have lived a great deal in order to understand even a tiny snippet.'"
Throughout his life, Kafka read with the feeling that he lacked the experience and knowledge necessary to achieve even the beginning of an understanding.