Study Guide

Block in The Trial

By Franz Kafka


Block the merchant, another of Huld's clients, repulses K. perhaps because of how similar his situation is to K's. Like K., Block was a successful man before his trial, and like K., Block seems to have a thing going on with Leni, although she denies it. But over the years, Block has devoted all of his time and money to his trial, and time has not been kind. While K. can still be arrogant and dismissive of Huld, Block is servile, as if he were the "lawyer's dog" (8.10). A mere word from Huld makes Block cower like one of the Dog Whisperer's misbehaving poodles.

Yet it is also because of their similarities that K. is drawn to Block. K. can't help listening to Block, pumping Block for information about his trial. Perhaps some of the fascination lies in figuring out what K. can do or do differently to make his own case end more successfully. But the only thing that Block proves is the paradox that, the more you know about the court, the less likely you are to successfully free yourself from its influence. And K. has to learn this the hard way when he dies, "like a dog," at the end of The Trial.

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