Study Guide

Fraülein Bürstner in The Trial

By Franz Kafka

Fraülein Bürstner

Fraülein Bürstner is another tenant in K.'s lodging house, the first of the many women in K.'s life throughout the course of The Trial. Of all the women, however, Fraülein Bürstner appears to be the most eligible. She seems young and attractive, with a promising career ahead of her as a law secretary, which K. immediately perceives as a major bonus in a love interest. Tellingly, K. can't seem to establish a real relationship with Fraülein Bürstner. Their only conversation ends with his pawing at her, which she seems to accept only reluctantly. It's as if K.'s capacity to have a real relationship, to commit himself to a relationship that might end in marriage, for example, deteriorates as the novel wears on and more women enter his life. K. isn't sure if the woman he sees on the way to his execution is Fraülein Bürstner, but her image seems to confirm his fate to die a bachelor.

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