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Graham Joyce: IMG The Powell’s Playlist: Graham Joyce



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The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text by Franz Kafka and Breon Mitchell
The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text

NNobbe, May 2, 2010

Franz Kafka delves into the issues of control and fate vs. free will in his novel The Trial. Josef K., an ambitious young bank official, awakes on his thirtieth birthday to discover that he has been arrested for a crime which they will not inform him of. Over the next year K. attempts to seize control of his case and confront the untouchable court. Along his journey, K. encounters several characters who wish to aide him in his trial and discovers the inner workings of the legal system. Kafka provides commentary on the unforgiving nature of the legal system, isolation, and the role of fate. The Trial is yet another masterpiece of Kafka’s that prompts readers to think critically about authority and societal roles. Those who enjoy Kafka’s works or are intrigued by the role of government and fate should read this book. I enjoyed the book because it prompts readers to consider the roles of government and how much control we truly have over our lives. The plot is captivating and keeps readers guessing throughout the novel. The book is effective in conveying the themes of control, isolation, and fate.
The Trial explores the idea that destiny is predetermined. From the beginning K. struggles to exert control over his trial only to find his attempts futile. He finds that the Court wields power over his outcome and that he can do nothing to change this. K. learns this when the Priest informs him, “The Court wants nothing from you. It receives you when you come and dismisses you when you go” (224). Kafka conveys the idea that fate is predetermined and the only control a person has is over how we react to the events that life presents. This chilling and exciting novel depicts a hopeless K. and the unseen forces that determine his outcome, inciting readers to consider the role of fate in their own lives.
I found the book intriguing because of the connection the reader feels with Josef K. and the way Kafka implores readers to consider the issue of fate vs. free will. Anyone who enjoys Franz Kafka should read The Trial. It is a masterpiece that reinforces the obscure and inquisitive nature of Kafka’s writing. The Trial is similar to Kafka’s short story The Metamorphosis in that it presents readers with character in dire straits who have no control over his own destiny. Readers who enjoy literature on the subjects of government control, authority, religion, and societal roles should pick up a copy of The Trial because it expertly explores these topics. The Trial is a cornerstone in the world of literature that remains relevant today.
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