by Franz Kafka
The Trial Isolation Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.
And you should talk less in general; almost everything you've said up to now could have been inferred from your behavior, even if you'd said only a few words, and it wasn't terribly favorable to you in any case. (1.7)
Have you ever felt that no matter what you say, you'll always be in the wrong? That's what K. is experiencing in a major way. Just by talking, he's sunk his case.
Then he went up the first set of stairs after all, his mind playing with the memory of the remark the guard Willem had made that the court was attracted by guilt, from which it actually followed that the room for the inquiry would have to be located off whatever stairway K chanced to choose. (3.6)
K. thinks he's in control here; whichever stairway he chooses will lead him to the court, because the world revolves around him. But it's actually the other way around: the court has infiltrated all of his options and controls what he can and cannot choose to do. It takes away his capacity for choice, to act as a free individual.
[W]hat has happened to me is merely a single case and as such of no particular consequence, since I don't take it very seriously, but it is typical of the proceedings being brought against many people. I speak for them, not for myself. (3.20)
K.'s pumping himself up here as a martyr for all the oppressed, but these grandiose claims really seem to be a way to mask his own feelings of insecurity in the courts, a world filled with threats he doesn't understand.