by Franz Kafka
The Trial Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph). We used Breon Mitchell's translation.
You're under arrest all right, but not the way a thief would be. If you're arrested like a thief, that's bad, but this arrest ---. It seems like something scholarly, I'm sorry if that sounds stupid, but it seems like something scholarly that I don't understand, but that I don't need to understand either. (2.4)
This is Frau Gruber's humble attempt to understand – or really, not to understand – K.'s trial. Frau Gruber's words express the ordinary person's perspective on something momentous like the trial – contented ignorance and the acceptance of an unjust system. K., unfortunately, isn't satisfied with ignorance and spends the rest of the novel trying to figure out what the heck is going on.
But Juliusstrasse, where it was supposedly located, was flanked on both sides by almost completely identical buildings, tall gray apartment houses inhabited by the poor. (3.4)
K. is surprised by the court's locale. His trial takes him to a lowly neighborhood that he, as a chief financial officer of a bank, wouldn't normally see.
[K.] realized that this was the first clear defeat he had suffered at the hands of these people. Of course there was no reason to let that worry him, he had suffered defeat only because he had sought to do battle. If he stayed home and led his normal life he was infinitely superior to any of these people, and could kick any one of them out of his path. (4.3)
Part of K.'s bitterness comes from the fact that the court seems to be made up of people who are of such humble circumstances that he would normally consider them inferior to himself. So inferior, in fact, that he could "kick" them out of his way. This inhumane attitude backfires when he gets executed by the very same people at the end of the novel.