A Critical Analysis of The Trial as Translated by Breon Mitchell - Essay on Literature

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George Washington University
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The Trial, which was written by Franz Kafka between 1914 and 1915, chronicles the life and struggles of a young bank official called Joseph K. This young man stands out as the main character in this story with his battles and encounters rife in the novel. The story exposes the trials and tribulations of the young bank officer as he encounters an invisible law and a supreme court. The book provides a typical account of state-induced self-destruction. Despite being one of Kafkas best writing, the story falls short of a clear meaning. Primarily, the whole narrative lives to the inconclusively evident in chapter nine of the same book. In the section two parables including "The Doorkeeper" and "Before the Law" triggers various commentaries due to their lack of clarity and conclusion. For instance, on page 215 of the book, Kafka and Mitchell (1998) said, Before the law stands a doorkeeper.

The Trial as translated by Breon Mitchell has the strange quality of writing, and it is ambiguous. Kafka presented a work that seems to define his voice and style. The book portrays full feelings for alienation and hatred for the authority. This novel misleads and convinces one in a burst of rebellion, surrender, and sadness. The book about Josef K who is a respectable bank officer that is arrested and he has to defend himself concerning a charge which he is unable to get information (Kafka and Mitchell, 1998 p.8). Therefore, it forces him to look for freedom against the unknowable and unknown constraints. Breon Mitchell who translates the book made an effort of preserving the hidden meaning entailed in the original text.

A close look at the book shows the authors ingenuity is representing revealed truth, which ultimately remains unresolvable. In the book, two guards arrest Joseph K. without any apparent cause or any form of a misdemeanor on his part. When K asks why he is arrested the tall guard says, after all, youre under arrest (Kafka and Mitchell, 1998 p.8). This arrest annoys the gentleman who is merely thirty-one years old. A year after this initial apprehension, another duo of guards again arrests K, direct him to a particular quarry outside the town, and lynch him (Kafka and Mitchell, 1998 p.230). It is interesting to construe what the writer refers to as K having been lynched in the name of the Law.

The book also shows a contrast between Josef K and the individuals linked to the court. The court lawyers and employees seem to be unhappy or sickly (Kafka and Mitchell, 1998 p.65). However, Josef is well off because he has an excellent job at the bank, he has confidence in his abilities, and he is pleased with his behavior. When K is invited to the court for the first time, he discovers with an emotion similar to condescension that it is situated in a slum. He shows scorn for the individuals who are needy than him and his attitude seems to be designed in a way that irritates the reader. Furthermore, the persona emerging, in the end, deserves the troubles imposed by Josef be the yearlong trial.

The book is about the past of Josef K and the nature of the guilt he is undergoing. For instance, on page 212 the author says, They think youre guilty. Your trial may never move beyond the lower courts. At least for the moment, your guilt is assumed proved. However, Josef K responded, But Im not guilty (Kafka and Mitchell, 1998 p.212). The novel does not give us something definite regarding the court and the judges who were responsible for the arrest of K. Furthermore, the location of the book is not provided or even when the events took place. The entire book is just wrapped in a mystery that was never resolved. References hit at the protagonist's guilt, which is shown throughout the book. At some point, Josef did not want to confess which makes me wonder if he could admit. At one point when K is looking for the court, he observed that he should automatically find the court as he had been told that the court is attracted with guilt.

The plight of Josef K where he is convicted for some sense of crime in a court that he cannot communicate is also shown in the book. This issue is a disturbing and profound image of humanity in the current world. At some point, the court symbolizes the church as it is regarded as a deficient bridge between an individual and God. The symbolism also represents the search of a profound Jew for an indefinable homeland. Although the novel was not completed, it is a proactive and powerful novel worth reading. Additionally, the book captures the images of humans as animalistic creatures pervading the story. The representation of human traits using animals and the images of human beings as animals is the hallmark of Kafka. The translation of Mitchell also makes a clear theoretical analysis of the novel.

In conclusion, the novel leaves the readers with unpleasant impression regarding the court. It is considered as a hidden and secret organization that moves at a slow pace with every procedure delayed with the bureaucracy through employing incompetent and corrupt employees.



Kafka, F., & Mitchell, B. (1998). The trial. New York: Schocken Books.


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