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The Trial

The Trial


by Franz Kafka

Analysis: Narrator Point of View

Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?

Third Person (Limited Omniscient)

In Kafka's novel, we've got an omniscient narrator who seems to spend most of his time perched in Josef K.'s head. The narrative is so loyal to K.'s point of view that it doesn't smooth over all of his confusions and distractions. Instead of sorting out K.'s murky impressions to reveal the true state of affairs, the narrator lets these impressions overwhelm the reader, creating an experience that is just as disorienting and exhausting for the reader as it is for K.

Perhaps one of the best instances of this type of psychological meticulousness is Chapter 7, which opens with K. "thoroughly fatigued" at his office desk. Even as he makes the decision to write his own petition, the next few pages follow his distracted thoughts as he thinks aimlessly about his lawyer's numerous excuses for the delays in his trial. It is only at the end of these long thoughts that we return back to K., right back where he was when the chapter opened, thinking about writing his own petition.

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