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Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
In The Trial, Joseph K is an ordinary young man, with a good job and all the normal ambitions of a young man who wants to get on in life. He is a bank official, and nothing out of the ordinary has ever happened to him.
Until his thirtieth birthday, that is. On that day, Joseph K, or K, is arrested by two government agents. The bewildered K does not know what the charge is. Nor does he know from which particular agency of the government the two officers who arrested him came from.
Thus begins his ordeal. At first, Kafka trusts to the legal system, that he would be given a fair trial, and he would be acquitted because he is innocent of any crime. He quietly submits to the arrest, but he is not taken away to prison. When summoned, he appears at the court.
Even in the court, no explanation is given for his arrest, and he certainly does not understand the legal process, nor does he know on whose authority the whole affair is being conducted. He is disgusted with the whole thing and launches into a tirade against the arresting officers the the legal system. He is allowed to go back home.
But his ordeal isn't over yet, as the law is still after him, for what reason, he doesn't know. His uncle tells him that he does not realize the severity of the situation and introduces him to a lawyer. Yet, he finds it difficult to trust even this man, and still searches on to find a way out.
He begins with a will to fight and establish his innocence of whatever fancied crime it may be, that he has been charged with. Then he tries to find ways to escape the invisible yet inexorable hand of the terrible system that is pursuing him. Still later, his attitude changes again as he prepares for the inevitable.
This incomplete novel has been interpreted in many ways by critics, as a commentary on law and legal processes, as a commentary on the power of society to condemn without a trial, as a critique of the state and bureaucracy of Kafka’s time and also as a commentary on the all powerful and insidious authority wielded by totalitarian regimes.
About Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a Czech-German writer.
Other books by Kafka - The Metamorphosis, The Castle, In The Penal Colony, and Amerika.
His writing is considered to have influenced other genres like existentialism.
Franz Kafka was born in 1883, in Prague, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He studied law at Karl-Ferdinands-Universität. Kafka worked for an insurance company. His literary works did not receive much attention during his lifetime. His novels are all unfinished, and he is believed to have burnt the drafts of 90% of his work. Kafka is now considered to be one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century.