Friday, January 11, 2013

The trial

In the trial, Josef K. is arrested, but given no information about what is crime is, or how he should be defended. It is all a very Kafka-eque scenario. (And that is very fitting, since it is written by Kafka.)

The accused wakes up one day to find a couple guards in his house. They tell him he is arrested, and proceed to eat is breakfast. They can't tell him why he is arrested (as they are only guards). They restrict some of his basic activities. However, he is allowed to go on to work and later continue with the rest of his life.

Everybody seems to know about his trial, but to him it is bizarre. The court is nothing like the legal system he knows. It all takes place in a slum neighborhood, and nobody seems to be able to tell him why he is there.

In spite of this being some odd situation that is totally foreign to him, most of his friends and acquaintances seem to know about the trial and feel it is a bad thing for him.

As in Kafka's Metamorphosis, things are absurd, yet normal at the same time. The crime, trial and bizarre court system seem to be way outside the realm of normalcy, yet they are accepted by those around. People who work for the "strange" court system do so even though they have to put up with strange things. However, they don't see any other way.

Other strange events and coincidences seem to happen on the way. Taken on their own, each event could be seen as slightly unusually but still possible in a normal world. Taken together, it is all absurd.

The Trial was never finished in Kafka's lifetime. He had requested that it be burned, but his friend, and later teams of scholars worked to publish and "restore" it. Alas, the approach shows. Some sections seem to be thrown in there without really helping the story. (There are also sections dumped off at the end in an appendix.) While the story is good, don't scholars have better things to do than fabricate a story from something that the author didn't see worthy?

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