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According to The Trail by Franz Kafka Here are some possible essay themes: Justice and Injustice Innocence and Guilt The Use (or Misuse) of Parable Self-esteem and Self-abasement The Labyrinthine The Nature of Power and Authority The Individual and the Collective Meaning and Absurdity Joseph K. and Franz Kafka The Trial and the Modern WorldChoose one theme to pursue. You are allowed to come up with your own, although I would like you to clear it with me first. Essays should be around six pages (not including the title page or bibliography).The themes are broad, but part of the assignment involves your coming up with a clear and effective thesis or argument about your theme in relation to The Trial. Your essay should have an introductory paragraph that closes with a proper and specific thesis statement, paragraphs organized around topics that reinforce your thesis, and a strong concluding paragraph. More information are at the doc that I provide below.
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GERM 1027 Essay #3
Length: approximately 1,500 words
According to The Trail by Franz Kafka
Here are some possible essay themes:
Justice and Injustice
Innocence and Guilt
The Use (or Misuse) of Parable
Self-esteem and Self-abasement
The Labyrinthine
The Nature of Power and Authority
The Individual and the Collective
Meaning and Absurdity
Joseph K. and Franz Kafka
The Trial
and the Modern World
Choose one theme to pursue. You are allowed to come up with your own, although I would like
you to clear it with me first. Essays should be around six pages (not including the title page or
bibliography). The themes are broad, but part of the assignment involves your coming up with a
clear and effective thesis or argument about your theme in relation to The Trial. Your essay
should have an introductory paragraph that closes with a proper and specific thesis statement,
paragraphs organized around topics that reinforce your thesis, and a strong concluding
paragraph.
For this essay I want you to use at least four critical resources, so check with the library to find
the most appropriate books and/or articles. For articles, the website JSTOR provides thousands
of articles on numerous subjects. Note: Internet sources such as Wikipedia, Douban,
SparkNotes, and CliffsNotes are not critical sources. Please ask me if you have any questions
about the validity of a source.
I want you to use the critics to aid your argument, but not to supplant it. Sometimes you may
agree with the critic, but your argument is often enhanced by having an opinion to spar against.
Be specific, focus in on key scenes or elements, and make sure that your argument is well
supported with evidence and quotations from the works. When it comes to quoting from the text,
comment on the quotes you use and do not simply allow them to speak for themselves. If you
have any questions while writing your essays, or if you would like me to see rough drafts, please
let me know
I hope that you’re all doing well. Here are some articles on Kafka (all of which can be found
on JSTOR) that should be helpful when it comes to getting starting in terms of your research.
All the best, and please let me know if you have any questions,
Jackie
Adams, Jeffrey. “Orson Welles’s The Trial: Film Noir and the Kafkaesque.” College
Literature 29.3 (Summer 2002): 140-57.
Banakar, Reza. “In Search of Heimat: A Note on Franz Kafka’s Concept of Law.” Law and
Literature 22.3 (Fall 2010): 463-90.
Collignon, Jean. “Kafka’s Humor.” Yale French Studies 16 (1955): 53-62.
Eisner, Pavel. “Franz Kafka and Prague.” Books Abroad 21.3 (Summer 1947): 264-70.
Emrich, William. Franz Kafka and Literary Nihilism.” Journal of Modern Literature 6.3
(Sept. 1977): 366-79.
Feuerlicht, Ignace. “Kafka’s Chaplain.” The German Quarterly 39.2 (Mar. 1966): 208-20.
Feuerlicht, Ignace. “Omissions and Contradictions in Kafka’s Trial.” The German
Quarterly 40.3 (May 1967): 339-50.
Kalinowski, Gregor. “Making Sense Stick in Kafka’s The Trial.” The German
Quarterly 83.4 (Fall 2010): 449-64.
Kavanagh, Thomas M. “Kafka’s ‘The Trial’: The Semiotics of the Absurd.” NOVEL 5.3
(Spring 1972): 242-53.
Kundera, Mila. “Kafka’s World.” The Wilson Quarterly 12.5 (Winter 1988): 88-99.
Heller, Peter. “On Not Understanding Kafka.” The German Quarterly 47.3 (May
1974): 373-93.
Lotze, Dieter P. “One Commentator’s Despair: Notes on the Structure of Kafka’s ‘The
Trial.'” Journal of Modern Literature 6.3 (Sept.
1977): 389-97.
McGowan, John P. “The Trial: Terminable/Interminable.” Twentieth Century
Literature 26.1 (Spring 1980): 1-14.
Meyers, Jeffrey. “Kafka’s Dark Laughter.” The Antioch Review 70.4 (Fall 2012): 760-68.
Politzer, Hans. “Franz Kafka and Albert Camus: Parables for Our Time.” Chicago
Review 14.1 (Spring 1960): 47-67.
Sokel, Walter H. “Kafka as a Jew.” New Literary History 30.4 (Autumn 1999): 837-53.
Spurr, David. “Paranoid Modernism in Joyce and Kafka.” Journal of Modern Literature 34.2
(Winter 2011): 178-91.
Stables, Wayne. “Kafka’s Intermediaries: Notes on Deferral, Gesture, and
Guilt.” MLN 128.3 (April 2013): 553-79.
GERM 1027 Essay #3
Length: approximately 1,500 words
According to The Trail by Franz Kafka
Here are some possible essay themes:
Justice and Injustice
Innocence and Guilt
The Use (or Misuse) of Parable
Self-esteem and Self-abasement
The Labyrinthine
The Nature of Power and Authority
The Individual and the Collective
Meaning and Absurdity
Joseph K. and Franz Kafka
The Trial
and the Modern World
Choose one theme to pursue. You are allowed to come up with your own, although I would like
you to clear it with me first. Essays should be around six pages (not including the title page or
bibliography). The themes are broad, but part of the assignment involves your coming up with a
clear and effective thesis or argument about your theme in relation to The Trial. Your essay
should have an introductory paragraph that closes with a proper and specific thesis statement,
paragraphs organized around topics that reinforce your thesis, and a strong concluding
paragraph.
For this essay I want you to use at least four critical resources, so check with the library to find
the most appropriate books and/or articles. For articles, the website JSTOR provides thousands
of articles on numerous subjects. Note: Internet sources such as Wikipedia, Douban,
SparkNotes, and CliffsNotes are not critical sources. Please ask me if you have any questions
about the validity of a source.
I want you to use the critics to aid your argument, but not to supplant it. Sometimes you may
agree with the critic, but your argument is often enhanced by having an opinion to spar against.
Be specific, focus in on key scenes or elements, and make sure that your argument is well
supported with evidence and quotations from the works. When it comes to quoting from the text,
comment on the quotes you use and do not simply allow them to speak for themselves. If you
have any questions while writing your essays, or if you would like me to see rough drafts, please
let me know
7KH 7ULDO
E )UDQ] .DIND
The Trial
By: Franz Kafka
Translation Copyright (C) by David Wyllie
Translator contact email: [email protected]
Chapter One Arrest – Conversation with Mrs. Grubach – Then Miss
Bürstner
Someone must have been telling lies about Josef K., he knew he had done
nothing wrong but, one morning, he was arrested. Every day at eight in the
morning he was brought his breakfast by Mrs. Grubach’s cook – Mrs. Grubach
was his landlady – but today she didn’t come. That had never happened before.
K. waited a little while, looked from his pillow at the old woman who lived
opposite and who was watching him with an inquisitiveness quite unusual for
her, and finally, both hungry and disconcerted, rang the bell. There was
immediately a knock at the door and a man entered. He had never seen the
man in this house before. He was slim but firmly built, his clothes were black
and close-fitting, with many folds and pockets, buckles and buttons and a belt,
all of which gave the impression of being very practical but without making it
very clear what they were actually for. “Who are you?” asked K., sitting half
upright in his bed. The man, however, ignored the question as if his arrival
simply had to be accepted, and merely replied, “You rang?” “Anna should have
brought me my breakfast,” said K. He tried to work out who the man actually
was, first in silence, just through observation and by thinking about it, but the
man didn’t stay still to be looked at for very long. Instead he went over to the
door, opened it slightly, and said to someone who was clearly standing
immediately behind it, “He wants Anna to bring him his breakfast.” There was
a little laughter in the neighbouring room, it was not clear from the sound of it
whether there were several people laughing. The strange man could not have
learned anything from it that he hadn’t known already, but now he said to K.,
as if making his report “It is not possible.” “It would be the first time that’s
happened,” said K., as he jumped out of bed and quickly pulled on his trousers.
“I want to see who that is in the next room, and why it is that Mrs. Grubach
has let me be disturbed in this way.” It immediately occurred to him that he
needn’t have said this out loud, and that he must to some extent have
acknowledged their authority by doing so, but that didn’t seem important to
him at the time. That, at least, is how the stranger took it, as he said, “Don’t
you think you’d better stay where you are?” “I want neither to stay here nor to
be spoken to by you until you’ve introduced yourself.” “I meant it for your own
good,” said the stranger and opened the door, this time without being asked.
The next room, which K. entered more slowly than he had intended, looked at
first glance exactly the same as it had the previous evening. It was Mrs.
Grubach’s living room, over-filled with furniture, tablecloths, porcelain and
photographs. Perhaps there was a little more space in there than usual today,
but if so it was not immediately obvious, especially as the main difference was
the presence of a man sitting by the open window with a book from which he
now looked up. “You should have stayed in your room! Didn’t Franz tell you?”
“And what is it you want, then?” said K., looking back and forth between this
new acquaintance and the one named Franz, who had remained in the
doorway. Through the open window he noticed the old woman again, who had
come close to the window opposite so that she could continue to see
everything. She was showing an inquisitiveness that really made it seem like she
was going senile. “I want to see Mrs. Grubach …,” said K., making a
movement as if tearing himself away from the two men – even though they
were standing well away from him – and wanted to go. “No,” said the man at
the window, who threw his book down on a coffee table and stood up. “You
can’t go away when you’re under arrest.” “That’s how it seems,” said K. “And
why am I under arrest?” he then asked. “That’s something we’re not allowed to
tell you. Go into your room and wait there. Proceedings are underway and
you’ll learn about everything all in good time. It’s not really part of my job to be
friendly towards you like this, but I hope no-one, apart from Franz, will hear
about it, and he’s been more friendly towards you than he should have been,
under the rules, himself. If you carry on having as much good luck as you have
been with your arresting officers then you can reckon on things going well with
you.” K. wanted to sit down, but then he saw that, apart from the chair by the
window, there was nowhere anywhere in the room where he could sit. “You’ll
get the chance to see for yourself how true all this is,” said Franz and both men
then walked up to K. They were significantly bigger than him, especially the
second man, who frequently slapped him on the shoulder. The two of them felt
K.’s nightshirt, and said he would now have to wear one that was of much
lower quality, but that they would keep the nightshirt along with his other
underclothes and return them to him if his case turned out well. “It’s better for
you if you give us the things than if you leave them in the storeroom,” they
said. “Things have a tendency to go missing in the storeroom, and after a
certain amount of time they sell things off, whether the case involved has come
to an end or not. And cases like this can last a long time, especially the ones
that have been coming up lately. They’d give you the money they got for them,
but it wouldn’t be very much as it’s not what they’re offered for them when
they sell them that counts, it’s how much they get slipped on the side, and
things like that lose their value anyway when they get passed on from hand to
hand, year after year.” K. paid hardly any attention to what they were saying, he
did not place much value on what he may have still possessed or on who
decided what happened to them. It was much more important to him to get a
clear understanding of his position, but he could not think clearly while these
people were here, the second policeman’s belly – and they could only be
policemen – looked friendly enough, sticking out towards him, but when K.
looked up and saw his dry, boney face it did not seem to fit with the body. His
strong nose twisted to one side as if ignoring K. and sharing an understanding
with the other policeman. What sort of people were these? What were they
talking about? What office did they belong to? K. was living in a free country,
after all, everywhere was at peace, all laws were decent and were upheld, who
was it who dared accost him in his own home? He was always inclined to take
life as lightly as he could, to cross bridges when he came to them, pay no heed
for the future, even when everything seemed under threat. But here that did
not seem the right thing to do. He could have taken it all as a joke, a big joke
set up by his colleagues at the bank for some unknown reason, or also perhaps
because today was his thirtieth birthday, it was all possible of course, maybe all
he had to do was laugh in the policemen’s face in some way and they would
laugh with him, maybe they were tradesmen from the corner of the street, they
looked like they might be – but he was nonetheless determined, ever since he
first caught sight of the one called Franz, not to lose any slight advantage he
might have had over these people. There was a very slight risk that people
would later say he couldn’t understand a joke, but – although he wasn’t
normally in the habit of learning from experience – he might also have had a
few unimportant occasions in mind when, unlike his more cautious friends, he
had acted with no thought at all for what might follow and had been made to
suffer for it. He didn’t want that to happen again, not this time at least; if they
were play-acting he would act along with them.
He still had time. “Allow me,” he said, and hurried between the two policemen
through into his room. “He seems sensible enough,” he heard them say behind
him. Once in his room, he quickly pulled open the drawer of his writing desk,
everything in it was very tidy but in his agitation he was unable to find the
identification documents he was looking for straight away. He finally found his
bicycle permit and was about to go back to the policemen with it when it
seemed to him too petty, so he carried on searching until he found his birth
certificate. Just as he got back in the adjoining room the door on the other side
opened and Mrs. Grubach was about to enter. He only saw her for an instant,
for as soon as she recognised K. she was clearly embarrassed, asked for
forgiveness and disappeared, closing the door behind her very carefully. “Do
come in,” K. could have said just then. But now he stood in the middle of the
room with his papers in his hand and still looking at the door which did not
open again. He stayed like that until he was startled out of it by the shout of the
policeman who sat at the little table at the open window and, as K. now saw,
was eating his breakfast. “Why didn’t she come in?” he asked. “She’s not
allowed to,” said the big policeman. “You’re under arrest, aren’t you.” “But how
can I be under arrest? And how come it’s like this?” “Now you’re starting
again,” said the policeman, dipping a piece of buttered bread in the honeypot.
“We don’t answer questions like that.” “You will have to answer them,” said K.
“Here are my identification papers, now show me yours and I certainly want to
see the arrest warrant.” “Oh, my God!” said the policeman. “In a position like
yours, and you think you can start giving orders, do you? It won’t do you any
good to get us on the wrong side, even if you think it will – we’re probably
more on your side that anyone else you know!” “That’s true, you know, you’d
better believe it,” said Franz, holding a cup of coffee in his hand which he did
not lift to his mouth but looked at K. in a way that was probably meant to be
full of meaning but could not actually be understood. K. found himself,
without intending it, in a mute dialogue with Franz, but then slapped his hand
down on his papers and said, “Here are my identity documents.” “And what do
you want us to do about it?” replied the big policeman, loudly. “The way you’re
carrying on, it’s worse than a child. What is it you want? Do you want to get
this great, bloody trial of yours over with quickly by talking about ID and arrest
warrants with us? We’re just coppers, that’s all we are. Junior officers like us
hardly know one end of an ID card from another, all we’ve got to do with you
is keep an eye on you for ten hours a day and get paid for it. That’s all we are.
Mind you, what we can do is make sure that the high officials we work for find
out just what sort of person it is they’re going to arrest, and why he should be
arrested, before they issue the warrant. There’s no mistake there. Our
authorities as far as I know, and I only know the lowest grades, don’t go out
looking for guilt among the public; it’s the guilt that draws them out, like it says
in the law, and they have to send us police officers out. That’s the law. Where
d’you think there’d be any mistake there?” “I don’t know this law,” said K. “So
much the worse for you, then,” said the policeman. “It’s probably exists only in
your heads,” said K., he wanted, in some way, to insinuate his way into the
thoughts of the policemen, to re-shape those thoughts to his benefit or to make
himself at home there. But the policeman just said dismissively, “You’ll find out
when it affects you.” Franz joined in, and said, “Look at this, Willem, he admits
he doesn’t know the law and at the same time insists he’s innocent.” “You’re
quite right, but we can’t get him to understand a thing,” said the other. K.
stopped talking with them; do I, he thought to himself, do I really have to carry
on getting tangled up with the chattering of base functionaries like this? – and
they admit themselves that they are of the lowest position. They’re talking
about things of which they don’t have the slightest understanding, anyway. It’s
only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves. I
just need few words with someone of the same social standing as myself and
everything will be incomparably clearer, much clearer than a long conversation
with these two can make it. He walked up and down the free space in the room
a couple of times, across the street he could see the old woman who, now, had
pulled an old man, much older than herself, up to the window and had her
arms around him. K. had to put an end to this display, “Take me to your
superior,” he said. “As soon as he wants to see you. Not before,” said the
policeman, the one called Willem. “And now my advice to you,” he added, “is
to go into your room, stay calm, and wait and see what’s to be done with you.
If you take our advice, you won’t tire yourself out thinking about things to no
purpose, you need to pull yourself together as there’s a lot that’s going to
required of you. You’ve not behaved towards us the way we deserve after being
so good to you, you forget that we, whatever we are, we’re still free men and
you’re not, and that’s quite an advantage. But in spite of all that we’re still
willing, if you’ve got the money, to go and get you some breakfast from the
café over the road.”
Without giving any answer to this offer, K. stood still for some time. Perhaps,
if he opened the door of the next room or even the front door, the two of
them would not dare to stand in his way, perhaps that would be the simplest
way to settle the whole thing, by bringing it to a head. But maybe they would
grab him, and if he were thrown down on the ground he would lose all the
advantage he, in a certain respect, had over them. So he decided on the more
certain solution, the way things would go in the natural course of events, and
went back in his room without another word either from h …
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