- 84125 Words
- Ages 12 and up
The Trial is a novel written by Franz Kafka. One of Kafka's best-known works, it tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed to neither him nor the reader. The terrifying tale of Joseph K, a respectable functionary in a bank, who is suddenly arrested and must defend his innocence against a charge about which he can get no information. A nightmare vision of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the mad agendas of twentieth-century totalitarian regimes.
Look at Joseph K., a bank officer living in a country with a constitution. He wakes up one day with strange men in his apartment telling him he's under arrest. Why or for what offense, no one knows. The arresting officers themselves don't know and can't tell him. Even if he's under arrest, however, no one picks him up or locks him in jail. He can still go to his office, work, perform his customary daily chores, and do whatever he wants to do as he awaits his trial. But he is understandably anxious and worried. He is, after all, charged with an unknown but very grave offense. He has a criminal case. He is an accused. He is under arrest.
For this problem he consults so many. He gets a lawyer. His uncle comes to his aid. He talks with his lawyer's other client--also charged and under arrest like him. He consults other people, a painter (who is said to know the "Court"), some women, a priest, etc. about his case. But no one can tell him what the charge is and what his sentence will be. The "Examining Magistrate," the "Judges," the "Court," the proceedings/ trial, and even the "Law" itself--they all seem to be unsolvable enigmas. [more]
Keywords: the trial, franz kafka, psychological thriller, satire, modern literature, existential fiction, novel of the absurd