by Franz Kafka
The Trial Isolation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.
The faces that surrounded him! Tiny black eyes darted about, cheeks dropped like those of drunken men, the long beards were stiff and scraggly, and when they pulled on them, it seemed as if they were merely forming claws, not pulling beards. Beneath the beards, however – and this was the true discovery K. made – badges of various sizes and colors shimmered on the collars of their jackets. (3.28)
The critic Henry Sussman believes that this passage is reminiscent of a Talmudic academy, an institution devoted to the study of sacred Hebrew texts. That the court looks like a school filled with teachers, rather than students, contributes to K.'s feeling that he's being examined all the time.
Today, K. no longer thought of shame; the petition had to be written. (7.9)
Shame is a major emotion for K. He becomes incredibly self-conscious at work, always worried about what other people think of him, and shamed by the thought that they might know about his trial.
[D]idn't a painstaking defense simultaneously imply the necessity of cutting himself off as far as possible from everything else? Would he successfully survive that? (7.12)
K. grows increasingly isolated as he gets deeper into his trial. Ironically, the court that infiltrates every aspect of his daily life requires that he separate himself off from this daily life to pursue his own case.