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Kafka?S “The Trial” Essay, Research Paper P.J. Faulstick 11.30.00 Soph. Sem Barbara Resnik The Paradoxical Nature of the Absurd Presented in Kafka?s The Trial

Kafka?S “The Trial” Essay, Research Paper

P.J. Faulstick

11.30.00

Soph. Sem

Barbara Resnik

The Paradoxical Nature of the Absurd Presented in Kafka?s The Trial

As I read through Kafka?s The Trial I was struck with a fusion of frustration, ubiquity, and the overt absurdity of the story at hand. The most surprising aspect of this conglomeration of feelings was that beyond my overriding reaction of confusion there was and undeniable sense of understanding. As I explored this paradoxical juxtapositioning I came to realize that my relation to this seemingly nonsensical accumulation of conflicting ideas was that I, or rather we as humans are exposed to the bearucratic absurdities illustrated so diligently by Kafka in our every day life, and through no fault but our society, history, or cultures effect on our lives. Once I had established this I could then be able to synthesize the alliteration of the absurd that Kafka presents from the examples that we are faced with in our lives.

Franz Kafka?s The Trial is a fictional account of a man who is indicted to a crime that in all actuality has not occurred, or if it has Josef K. (the stories main character) has was unaware that his actions, if their were any, were against the law. One morning Josef K. wakes up to find a team of ?officials? in his boarding house. He is told that he cannot leave his house until the examining magistrate speaks with him. These officials then proceed to eat; his breakfast, invade another boarders? room and is told that there is a trial being brought against him. There is no explanation of the charges at hand and no clear delineation of whom, how, or what this trial is about. After a brief account with the examining magistrate he is told to arrive at the courthouse the following Sunday. Herr. K proceeds to this courthouse of sorts the next Sunday to be confronted by a ramshackle tenement that doesn?t seem fit to lodge criminals let alone a supposed court of law. After going on a wild goose chase through this expansive rat trap of halls and stairs on a search for a random man who is his closest thing to a contact in this confuddlement of system he happens upon the room in which his first ?hearing? is suppose to take place. Upon his entrance he is accused of being and hour and a half late and is then assigned a position in front of the magistrate of the court. Behind him is situated an audience of sorts that is split into two parts, one part is uproarious and uncouth, while the other is almost silent and observant. There are no explanations, and only vague suggestions as to what is suppose to take place. Herr. K for in reaction to the utter lack of formality or guidance then begins to articulate his feelings of innocence, abandonment and confusion to the court. The hearing is deftly brought to an end and Herr. K is asked to return again on the next Sunday. On his return he goes to the same room only to find that there is no one there and his hearing is not happening that day.

The story goes on from there in the same air of pretense and ingenerated abandonment to eventually lead Herr. K through much tenacity and mystification and eventually his death. I assume that from this brief analysis of Kafka?s the trial you can undoubtedly perceive the true absurdity of the contents of the story (besides I?m sure you?ve read it for yourself and come the same, if not similar conclusions.)

Its quite a challenge to derive specific examples of the absurd from a book that is riddled, if not completely composed of the illogical, but by that same cognizance it should be less than easy to do so. I think that the most striking aspect is the formless and indistinct composition of the authoritative system that was responsible for the interrogation and trial of Herr. K. First of all it is quite clear that there is some form of a bureaucratic system and structure, but conversely there are no customary sanctions, information, configuration, or constitution so to speak. Therefore from a logical perspective everything that a bureaucratic system embodies is void in this situation providing Kafka?s audience with an undeniable impracticality in terms.

I think that the point of this impossibility is to allude to the premise that bureaucratic systems in general are in effect the antithesis of what their mission is. I use the term ?bureaucratic systems? in a generalized sense to encompass all forms of menial nominal systems that are structured in such a way as to be devoid of practicality and logic. The existence of such industrious organization is to have a set of specific regulations and policies so as to facilitate a person to get from one point to another in a structure that is hindering to understand as a whole. So, in essence bureaucratic systems were developed to assist people to get to a means that they would be unable to reach without such structure, but as is illustrated in The Trial and in life the exact opposite is to be found.

Furthermore, if such structures have not proven to epitomize illogical absurdity, Kafka furthers this association by creating a jurisdictional establishment that is lacking in any delineated or coherent conventions or foundations, therefore creating a self-effacing cycle of paradox that in no way can be broken or used to the advantage of the individual that needs such advantages.

As if this depiction of the incongruous is not the shining example of absurdity this notion is only furthered by the general acceptance of the structure that is carried out by the characters in the novel. At no point do any of the characters that are encumbered by Herr. K?s trial explicitly articulates the ludicrous and specious nature of the proceedings that were at hand. In fact the exact opposite rings to be true, adding an air of surrealism to the already alienating tone of the story. As much as it seems that this account of Herr. K?s experience is riddled with nonsensical paradigms Kafka always manages through what I perceive as allegory to express an insatiable understanding that through surrealism, absurdity, illogic, and alienation there is a common ground to which everybody can understand, because there is no one in this world that cannot relate to the experiences Kafka presents, be it that most situations are of a more realistic nature.

By the time I finished The Trial I had undergone a total revision of my perception of Kafka?s use of the absurd. At first I was hampered by the excessive use of erroneous alliteration and was unable to decipher the motivation behind such baseless inconsistencies, but by the conclusion of the novel I was struck with Kafka?s ingenious expos? of the true paradoxical correlation between sagacity and the utterly absurd. Through tact and literary manipulation the deliverance of such a transformation was truly articulated and implied in as such away as to completely envelop and situate Kafka?s audience in the trials and tribulations of Herr.K?s tragic experience, the affect being that of direct relation and therefore uniting the illogicality of the absurd with the irony that was twisted from the absurd.

P.J. Faulstick

11.30.00

Soph. Sem

Barbara Resnik

The Paradoxical Nature of the Absurd Presented in Kafka?s The Trial

As I read through Kafka?s The Trial I was struck with a fusion of frustration, ubiquity, and the overt absurdity of the story at hand. The most surprising aspect of this conglomeration of feelings was that beyond my overriding reaction of confusion there was and undeniable sense of understanding. As I explored this paradoxical juxtapositioning I came to realize that my relation to this seemingly nonsensical accumulation of conflicting ideas was that I, or rather we as humans are exposed to the bearucratic absurdities illustrated so diligently by Kafka in our every day life, and through no fault but our society, history, or cultures effect on our lives. Once I had established this I could then be able to synthesize the alliteration of the absurd that Kafka presents from the examples that we are faced with in our lives.

Franz Kafka?s The Trial is a fictional account of a man who is indicted to a crime that in all actuality has not occurred, or if it has Josef K. (the stories main character) has was unaware that his actions, if their were any, were against the law. One morning Josef K. wakes up to find a team of ?officials? in his boarding house. He is told that he cannot leave his house until the examining magistrate speaks with him. These officials then proceed to eat; his breakfast, invade another boarders? room and is told that there is a trial being brought against him. There is no explanation of the charges at hand and no clear delineation of whom, how, or what this trial is about. After a brief account with the examining magistrate he is told to arrive at the courthouse the following Sunday. Herr. K proceeds to this courthouse of sorts the next Sunday to be confronted by a ramshackle tenement that doesn?t seem fit to lodge criminals let alone a supposed court of law. After going on a wild goose chase through this expansive rat trap of halls and stairs on a search for a random man who is his closest thing to a contact in this confuddlement of system he happens upon the room in which his first ?hearing? is suppose to take place. Upon his entrance he is accused of being and hour and a half late and is then assigned a position in front of the magistrate of the court. Behind him is situated an audience of sorts that is split into two parts, one part is uproarious and uncouth, while the other is almost silent and observant. There are no explanations, and only vague suggestions as to what is suppose to take place. Herr. K for in reaction to the utter lack of formality or guidance then begins to articulate his feelings of innocence, abandonment and confusion to the court. The hearing is deftly brought to an end and Herr. K is asked to return again on the next Sunday. On his return he goes to the same room only to find that there is no one there and his hearing is not happening that day.

The story goes on from there in the same air of pretense and ingenerated abandonment to eventually lead Herr. K through much tenacity and mystification and eventually his death. I assume that from this brief analysis of Kafka?s the trial you can undoubtedly perceive the true absurdity of the contents of the story (besides I?m sure you?ve read it for yourself and come the same, if not similar conclusions.)

Its quite a challenge to derive specific examples of the absurd from a book that is riddled, if not completely composed of the illogical, but by that same cognizance it should be less than easy to do so. I think that the most striking aspect is the formless and indistinct composition of the authoritative system that was responsible for the interrogation and trial of Herr. K. First of all it is quite clear that there is some form of a bureaucratic system and structure, but conversely there are no customary sanctions, information, configuration, or constitution so to speak. Therefore from a logical perspective everything that a bureaucratic system embodies is void in this situation providing Kafka?s audience with an undeniable impracticality in terms.

I think that the point of this impossibility is to allude to the premise that bureaucratic systems in general are in effect the antithesis of what their mission is. I use the term ?bureaucratic systems? in a generalized sense to encompass all forms of menial nominal systems that are structured in such a way as to be devoid of practicality and logic. The existence of such industrious organization is to have a set of specific regulations and policies so as to facilitate a person to get from one point to another in a structure that is hindering to understand as a whole. So, in essence bureaucratic systems were developed to assist people to get to a means that they would be unable to reach without such structure, but as is illustrated in The Trial and in life the exact opposite is to be found.

Furthermore, if such structures have not proven to epitomize illogical absurdity, Kafka furthers this association by creating a jurisdictional establishment that is lacking in any delineated or coherent conventions or foundations, therefore creating a self-effacing cycle of paradox that in no way can be broken or used to the advantage of the individual that needs such advantages.

As if this depiction of the incongruous is not the shining example of absurdity this notion is only furthered by the general acceptance of the structure that is carried out by the characters in the novel. At no point do any of the characters that are encumbered by Herr. K?s trial explicitly articulates the ludicrous and specious nature of the proceedings that were at hand. In fact the exact opposite rings to be true, adding an air of surrealism to the already alienating tone of the story. As much as it seems that this account of Herr. K?s experience is riddled with nonsensical paradigms Kafka always manages through what I perceive as allegory to express an insatiable understanding that through surrealism, absurdity, illogic, and alienation there is a common ground to which everybody can understand, because there is no one in this world that cannot relate to the experiences Kafka presents, be it that most situations are of a more realistic nature.

By the time I finished The Trial I had undergone a total revision of my perception of Kafka?s use of the absurd. At first I was hampered by the excessive use of erroneous alliteration and was unable to decipher the motivation behind such baseless inconsistencies, but by the conclusion of the novel I was struck with Kafka?s ingenious expos? of the true paradoxical correlation between sagacity and the utterly absurd. Through tact and literary manipulation the deliverance of such a transformation was truly articulated and implied in as such away as to completely envelop and situate Kafka?s audience in the trials and tribulations of Herr.K?s tragic experience, the affect being that of direct relation and therefore uniting the illogicality of the absurd with the irony that was twisted from the absurd.

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