Study Guide

The Trial Chapter 2

By Franz Kafka

Chapter 2

Conversation with Frau Grubach and then Fraülein Bürstner

  • Now we learn that it's spring, and it also happens to be K.'s birthday. What a massive birthday fail.
  • In any case, K.'s day at the bank goes quickly. He even calls the three clerks into his office just to observe them. But instead of going off to his paramour Elsa's, as he was planning to, he just wants to go home.
  • K. arrives back at his lodging house, and visits Frau Grubach. He apologizes to Frau Grubach for the inconvenience that morning. Frau Grubach tells him it was no inconvenience, and mentions that she had a quick chat with the guards about his situation. Whatever K.'s arrested for, it doesn't sound too bad; it just sounds "scholarly," according to Frau Grubach, something she doesn't understand (2.4).
  • K. offers his hand to his landlady, who accepts his apologies tearfully and forgets to shake his hand.
  • K. asks his landlady whether Fraülein Bürstner is around. The landlady says that Bürstner is out at the theater, then cattily adds that she's seen Bürstner around town with different men.
  • K. is offended by the landlady's insinuation, yells at her, and slams the door behind him.
  • He decides to wait up for Bürstner, who finally arrives at some point after 11:30. He doesn't want to just pop out at her from his dark room – which might make things look like an "assault" (2.10) – so he whispers out to her from his door. Bürstner is tired, but agrees to let him into her room so that he can explain the events of the morning.
  • K. explains to Bürstner how the inspector had taken over her room for his inquiry that morning. Bürstner is at first shocked, but is intrigued by K.'s story, not in the least because she happens to be studying to be a law secretary.
  • K. rearranges Bürstner's room so that he can dramatize the events of the morning, but he gets carried away and loudly calls out his own name in imitation of the inspector.
  • Suddenly they are interrupted by loud knocking at the door of an adjoining room. Bürstner informs K. that the landlady's nephew, a captain, is staying in the living room, and she's worried what people think with K. in her room.
  • K. quickly slips out of her room, but not before kissing her all over her face and neck "like a thirsty animal" (2.7). He goes back to his own room and falls asleep, mighty pleased with himself.