Ready for The Trial?

Title The Trial
Author Franz Kafka
Pages 226
Publisher Oxford University Press
Translator Mike Mitchell

“Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., because he had done nothing wrong, but one day he was arrested.”

These bewildering words were written by Kafka as opening sentence, yet the tone of the book had been set from that point. It was a distressing story about a person who fought against law courts and its tyrannical nature.

The protagonist, Josef K, had a decent life and carrier as a bank clerk. His boss always praised him and he has a strategic position in his office. There was a time where he was confident about overtaking his vice-manager place. Sadly, the perfect world dissolved as he was fighting The Court.

One morning, K. was arrested by strangers who broke into his room. There were three of them and they claimed to be the messengers. The captain assured that K. was declared guilty without any conviction, but at the same time, he was allowed to continue his normal daily life. K. was disconcerted and asked them about his wrongdoing. No answer was given.

He thought someone played some pranks on him, so he disregarded the call. When the trial came, he faced it with confident. He adamantly declared his innocence and answered the judge with courage. However, he could not convince the judge and the plea was rejected. Again, K. was placed into confusion because he knew nothing about his case.

For the rest of the book, no hint was told about the crime K. might have admitted. He tried to ignore the case, but all the parts of his life crumbled slowly. His family, love life, and career were getting worse and worse. The Trial may not give him a great impact, yet it subtly devastated his mind. All that he had done were futile because he fought against an absolute power, absurd and corrupted at the same time.

Kafka offered a disturbing alternative reality which was filled by despair. This was not a fast-paced story about the adventure of K. who challenged The Court. Rather, K. simply tried to discover more about the trial process. The plot may be slow, but this book is worth reading – even though Kafka himself had not finished all the fragments of the story. [yd]



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