The Trial – Franz Kafka


Now, Franz Kafka is one of the most critically acclaimed writers of all times and there is no denying to it. However, what I was surprised to know is that he had instructed his friend to destroy all his manuscripts after his death.  Why would he do that? Did he think that he had not written good enough? Also, he had published only a few short stories and articles while he was alive. Most of his work was published posthumously and was incomplete, still it was so enchanting. Imagine, he has wanted us to be kept deprived from a look of his genius. There are some other 25 works missing which people are in the process of finding. Find about him at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Kafka

Now about the book. This book is very complex and mind boggling. It is, as the name says, an account of the trial of a person who is indicted for a reason no one knows about, in judged in court where the rules are not known to even the higher officials and if someone is able to help, it is but in a very weird and indirect way and then too it is not sure whether the help will work because as you see, no one knows what works. Finally, this accused man, Joseph K. is found guilty and executed. The story was left incomplete in the end so there was a little muddling up. But it strikes you hard. Kafka has the tendency to show the world with its highlighted absurdities and it seems normal to all. The main protagonist is a man who first accepts the indictment of an unknown court and then fights hard to be announced free. Where on one side, he is not ready to accept his guilt, on the other, he most readily visits the court without being called and authenticates the court by giving it value. Then the hidden and unknown rules of the court seem to me as a take on our own system of justice, where once caught it becomes difficult to be freed of charge because the cases keep running since infinity. Also, the fact that only the higher officials know about it is showing that justice and law are out of reach for the commoners and that  it is not acceptable to everyone. Also, judges are not influenced by any sort of documents but your conduct and influences that you generate (that is, by personal bias). It is a mockery of the law which  claims to be very objective.

It is a satire and modernist take on the justice and the system of law and it is great at that. There is use of long sentences and the breaks are few which makes it pretty heavy while you read but once you get the Kafka feel, it all seems so necessary and wonderful. All his works are translations because he originally wrote in German.

So, I had a nice time reading and thinking about Kafka and ” The Trial”. I have also read his “Metamorphosis” and “The Hunger Artist” and was equally dazed. He has this peculiar quality of showing confused individuals/their internal conflicts and their struggle to go against the system but it ends in a failure all the same and establishes the pessimism about changing the world. This has been a common theme in all the three works that I mentioned. In all these three works he has one protagonist, who does not have a social life as such and is forced into the world of absurdities.

So much for Kafka. I had nice time. 🙂

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