by Franz Kafka
The Trial Life, Consciousness, and Existence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.
Just don't attract attention! Keep calm, no matter how much it seems counter to good sense. (7.2)
This passage emphasizes that "good sense" and the court just don't get along. The court is a fundamentally paradoxical institution that defies logic (see our discussion of "Justice and Judgment" in "Themes" for a refresher on all the court's kookiness).
It was absolutely necessary for K. to intervene personally. It was precisely in states of extreme fatigue, as on this winter morning, when his thoughts were drifting aimlessly, that the conclusion seemed almost inescapable. (8.6)
Ironically, K. comes to a decision – "absolutely necessary" – while his thoughts are "drifting aimlessly." That is, instead of coming to a decision logically, he happens onto this important decision while he's daydreaming. This makes his decision seem unconvincing because he can't explain why it's "absolutely necessary" to intervene personally, particularly when everyone who does intervene personally in his own case (like Block) seems to have suffered terribly.
Anything but stop half way, that was the most senseless course of all, not only in business, but anywhere, at any time. Admittedly, the petition meant an almost endless task […] it might provide a suitable occupation for a mind turned childish. (8.9)
K. makes the mistake here of applying his business conduct to matters of the court. But even at this late point in the novel, he recognizes that the petition is fit for a "childish" mind – the petition is an irrational, nonsensical proposition that is, paradoxically, a necessary one.