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A weird tale that makes sense

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I don't know why I got so interested by Kafka after reading "The Trial". I've read "In the penal colony" once - a long time ago -, a very small tale by him and I liked it, but by that time it was only another good reading for me. I did not saw it as something to “investigate”... but when I read "The Trial" things were a lot different. Maybe it's because it's so WEIRD and I like weird books (and movies) lol. I always think if something is weird, then it must not necessarily have no logic, but it may have an "hidden" sense, I say hidden in somewhere else, maybe not in that very book's text, but - who knows - in the author’s life facts. So I took a few minutes of my life to do a research about the social context in which Kafka was inserted, I mean, the political context of the Kingdom of Bohemia were he lived. I did so because I wanted to know for sure if an interpretation I've previously did to myself of the book was close to the idea Kafka wanted to transmit thought his masterpiece “The Trial”.

This interpretation done by myself can be explained like this: Kafka lived in a very authoritarian country, were the State of Law that was supposed to exist (according to him) was not actually a real State of Law. So he wrote this book to make a critic about this model of government he hated. In "The Trial’s" story, a court sues Joseph K., a successful guy that worked in a great bank, without telling him why he was being taken to trial - he never discovered the crime he was accused of. And this court also did not follow any other law. So I see in this fictitious court created by Kafka the representation of a Leviathan... a Leviathan that represented the government of the country Kafka lived. And, in the book, K. discovers that there was nothing he could do in he's defense. He hired a lawyer but then he discovers also that what makes a lawyer to be good (in the fictitious world of the book) is the personal relationship of this lawyer with the judges and other members of the court, not the lawyer's knowledge about law. It doesn't matter's if he's PHD or not. K. tried all the ways he could find to discover what was the charge and to defend himself against it. He couldn't even - neither his lawyer - type the petition, he’s defense thesis, because he did not know what crime was he being accused of and he did not have the access to the court files of he’s case. These files - if they existed - were hidden somewhere in the court's domains with thousands of other files - lot's of pounds of old and “UNuseful” papers. So this court not only disobeyed the law, but also created its own laws, just like a T. Hobbes Leviathan. See the similarity of these two institutions. Even tough one represents the judiciary power, and the other represents the executive power, similarities between them are explicit. There was not due process of law to K. so he is taken as guilt in the end - and he dies. I think in the Kafka’s view this court was the responsible for this and all the other cases of injustice in that country. The court represents the leviathan, and the leviathan represents the Kafka's real life country government. That’s why I think it's a critique to the unwanted authority. That was my interpretation of the book.

Then, as I said, I wanted to confirm if this was true. And I read in a Kafka's biography I found in my university’s library – a full-of-dust book printed in 1974 that looked like no one had touch it since that year, even thought that’s a very good and detailed biography - that this interpretation of “The Trial” done by myself was not wrong, but was also not complete. The thing is that actually the tale "The Trial" is not a critique to the government only, but it's firstly a critique to the concept of "authority". And the Kafka’s life facts I discovered in this biography explains it very well. Kafka was born in a jewish family and his father was very bossy when Kafka was a children. His father was always giving him orders and if he did not complied with it, then he knew there would be a severe punition. Once Kafka, still a very young child, was asking for a glass of water. He’s father did not want to give him any water for a reason the book doesn’t tells and the child (Kafka) started to cry and ask for it again and again. As result of that "annoyance", the father locked him outside the house, in an Oriental Europe winter day. If the snow and the coldness did not bother Kafka so much, in the other hand the people that were passing in the street seeing him in underwear did bother him – a lot. This episode was remembered by Kafka when he was a grown up man. I think he became traumatized. His father created in him the hate against any authority. When he was young, he hated the father's authority. When he was older, than this hate was extended by the family pressure for him to study law. "Anything that is not literature [including law, for sure], bothers me", he wrote once in a letter to a girl, friend of him. And latter, this hate of him was extended to the state authority, that government he hated. And maybe he hated it mostly by the fact it was a powerful authority and less by the fact it was bad for the people. I don’t know. No one knows for sure. But as you may see, that corroborates that interpretation I previously did about the book. I think many people have previously think the same about the book…

Now I'm satisfied that I could understand this book. My curiosity is “cured” hahaha. I think I would not have to spend more time in understanding it lol... I still know almost nothing about Kafka, but this little I know is enough to satisfy my curiosity, so I'm ok with it. I just wanted to understand the book. Anyway, it's a good book and I'll surely read another one piece by Kafka, someday. But there are other titles I want to read first.

It’s possible there are other interpretations that will make sense concerning “The Trial” too. If someone knows any, please post it. It’s really fun to discuss about such stuff – weird stuff that makes sense after a major research.
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Added by bookworm fellow
9 years ago on 26 December 2007 02:06




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