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The Trial

The Trial


by Franz Kafka

The Trial Art and Culture Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.

Quote #1

Fraülein Bürstner, laughing as she listened, held her finger to her lips to keep K. from yelling, but it was too late, K. had entered too deeply into his role: "Josef K.!" he cried (2.10)

By acting out his interrogation for Fraülein Bürstner, K. attempts to make sense of a situation that was puzzling and disturbing. K. is thus able to turn a terrible event – his arrest – into romantic paydirt, as his little charade ends with his embracing Fraülein Bürstner.

Quote #2

[K] noticed in particular a large painting hanging to the right of the door and leaned forward to see it better. It showed a man in a judge's robe; he was sitting on a throne, its golden highlights gleaming forth from the painting in several places. (6.3)

The judge's painting at Huld's house shows how similar the strategies of art are to the court's. The painting is arranged in such a way that the viewer of the painting stands at the judge's feet – in the same position of the defendant, just as K. stood before the examining magistrate. Just like the painting, the court arranges the courtroom in such a way as to intimidate the defendant and impress the defendant with its power.

Quote #3

"That's all an invention," said Leni, her head bent over K.'s hand, "he's actually sitting on a kitchen stool with an old horse blanket folded over it." (6.3)

Leni's tidbit of information highlights one of the strange features of the court, which is its association with impoverished conditions (see our discussion of "Society and Class" and "Justice and Judgment" in "Themes").

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