Professional reference of literary work Encounter with a young man


Pedagogical and therapeutic goals: strengthening self-confidence, self-knowledge and self-evaluation, awareness of the importance of long-term planning,

Recommended age group: 16 – 22 years

Working method: group


Brief content of the work:

During a walk, the twenty-six-year-old author meets his former young self, who confronts him with his former dreams, ideas and ambitious plans. “From the very first moment of meeting Karinthyn, even when she sees her 17-18-year-old self, she feels uneasy, wants to turn away, feels that the meeting will be unpleasant…

The opposite of the boy whistling at appearances and status symbols and the young man who submits to allure unfolds before us, and while the first is sure of his value system and its correctness, the adult Karinthy is ashamed of herself. Accordingly, the young man directs their conversation: he calls to account, reprimands, while the elderly Karinthy explains in a bewildered manner… During their conversation, the teenage Karinthy questions the twenty-six-year-old writer, who can actually only make excuses, for the non-fulfillment of her dreams. …After that, the roles are reversed, the adult, no matter how much he wanted to, was unable to rise above the other with the help of his own value system. He surrenders, and it turns out that he feels it himself: his youthful self is right. Only after this does his teenage self look into his eyes for the first time, and you can feel from his look full of hatred: he will not be gentle…

Most of the great works are truly unrealistic plans (…) however, the confrontation with the betrayal of dreams affects the adult Karinthy very deeply, and most of the time she does not bring up the impossibility of the enterprise as a counter-argument, but uses other excuses, and in fact supports the legitimacy of the plans: I wasn’t there”, “I didn’t have time”, “We were working on it”. After the inventions, discoveries, and political ideas, the word turns to the writing profession, and this is when the young Karinthy gives her first recognition, according to which she also considers the humorous sketches and short stories to be quite good, but where is this compared to the great symphony; the writer’s plans imagined a long time ago, behind which the humorous short stories are dwarfed, have therefore not been realized, and the writer also feels this: he blushes when he hears the reproach. In other words, no matter how successful and successful he was, with the great work, the significant creation, with which the writer would answer not to the audience but to himself, he not only remained in debt, but also revealed it: “but I wrote a pretty sonnet about it(…) and I liked it, and since then they have paid more”. This kind of open submission to material things and the rejection of artistic goals simply because of money infuriates the young Karinthy…

The ending brings a kind of atonement. The fact that the writer considers the topic to be solved only briefly and satirically, despite the call for a large-scale work, proves his youthful self. It is therefore interesting and painful that the great confrontation has no meaningful result, it has only one effect: this short story.” (


Experiences gained from own work with the literary piece:

I recommend using the text specifically for group work, in mixed groups from the age of 16. It is worth starting by reading the work aloud, and then it is advisable to briefly discuss who it influenced and how. The framework of the session can be provided by the following set of questions:

  1. Have you ever faced the fact that you overplanned or underplanned something?
  2. How is long-term planning related to daily tasks, even the creation of the agenda?
  3. If we fail at something, how do you usually evaluate it? How could it be more appropriate? What and how can we learn from our failures?
  4. Could you identify more with the author’s teenage or adult self?
  5. Which of them do you think is “right” and why?
  6. Prepare a report about your imagined meeting with yourself ten or twenty years later, titled “Ten years later” or “Twenty years later”! (no more than 1-2 A4 pages. If we are working with a group of 10-15 people, it is essential that everyone has the opportunity to read their own work; this can have confidence-boosting potential, and can also determine the further direction of the conversation.)
  7. Compare Karinthy’s short story by Dezső Kosztolányi Happy – sad song c. with the following lines of his poem: “But sometimes I stop at night / in agony, on the verge of death, / I dig the treasure in the deep, / the treasure, the old one, on the floor, / like a fever patient who wakes up, wrapped in his sleep, confused, / digging my hand, / searching for, alas, what I once wanted. / Because I don’t have the treasure I longed for, / the treasure I burned to the ground for. I am at home here in this world, and I am no longer at home in heaven.” How are the two texts related?
  8. What do you think the near and far future can bring? What would you experience as a failure and success in the future and how could you be successful?
  9. What would you consider success? Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist? Why?
  10. What do you consider is really important in your life?


It didn’t pass language editing!


Recommended citation method:
Attila Sturcz. 2023. The professional reference of Frigyes Karinthy: Meeting a young man. In In Kotrbová, K. et al: Bratislava: PRO SKIZP – Association to support the development of the Slovak Chamber of Clinical Physics, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Pedagogues, 2023.  ISBN 978-80-974667-0-1 Available on:


The contribution was created thanks to support from the European Union Erasmus+ program, Key action 2 – Cooperation between organizations and institutions, KA210 – Small partnerships for cooperation in the field of education and training. Project name “Prototype of online teaching aid for bibliotherapy”, project number 2022-1-SK01-KA210-VET-000082483. It represents the opinion of the author and the European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.

Additional information


Story published in: Encounter with a Young Man (short stories)
Author: Frigyes Karinthy
Year of publication: 2014
Publisher: Kossuth Publishing, E-book ;
ISBN 9789630969994
Literary genre: short story