The Trial

The Trial: Essay Questions

1. In chapter eight, K. meets the sniveling businessman, Block. Discuss this character’s contribution to the novel. Block provides a trajectory of the direction K.’s life will take if he remains with the lawyer Huld and fails to assume responsibility for his own case. A ruined businessman, Block is another of Huld’s clients. K. first …

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The Trial: Biography

On July 3, 1883, Franz Kafka was born to retailer Hermann and Julie Kafka in Prague, which was at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1918, Austria-Hungary dissolved as part of the outcome of World War I, and Prague became the capital of Czechoslovakia, presently the Czech Republic.  Kafka was the eldest of …

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The Trial: Themes

Unexplained Guilt Even though K. is never charged or convicted of any crime, he feels guilty, of what we never learn. It may just be a free-floating kind of guilt that has no direct cause. It is possible that his sense of guilt is linked to the theological belief in Original Sin. This is part …

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The Trial: Metaphors

TotalitarianismIn The Trial, Kafka warns readers about the dangers of bureaucracies, or governments, that grow too large and become so powerful that individuals are placed constantly under surveillance and have no chance of survival once they come under suspicion.From the moment K. is placed under arrest, for a crime of which he is totally unaware, …

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The Trial: Characters

BlockBlock is a formerly successful businessman who has fallen on hard times since he was arrested five years earlier. He has degenerated into a pathetic figure and under Huld’s tutelage has made no progress in his trial. His business and his health has been ruined.  He is compared to a dog.Miss BurstnerMiss Burstner is an …

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The Trial: chapter 10

Chapter TenOn the evening before his thirty-first birthday, K. receives two visitors. He is dressed in black, like them, and has been waiting for them. The men, who are somewhat like clowns, take hold of his arms and escort him through the streets.  The curtains are drawn on most of the apartments. Through one open …

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The Trial: chapter 9

Chapter NineBecause K. is not feeling as secure as he once did at work, he takes on additional jobs that involve business trips and hosting visiting clients.  As the chapter opens he brushes up on his Italian to show a client around the city.  He is not at all happy about this because it takes …

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The Trial: chapter 8

Chapter EightK. has made the final decision to fire his lawyer. Since he wants to see the lawyer’s reaction, he decides to visit him instead of writing a letter or telephoning.  At Huld’s office, the door is slow to open and when K. enters he sees Leni running away in her nightgown with a disheveled …

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The Trial: chapter 7

Chapter SevenFeeling despondent, K. sits in his office one snowy morning trying to get work done but he cannot focus: “he sat there immobile with his head sunk down on his chest” (55).  He can’t think of anything but his trial and wonders whether he should write a report detailing every event of his life …

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