“On his way up he disturbed several children who were playing on the steps and who looked angrily at him as he passed through their midst. ‘The next time I’m to come,’ he said to himself, ‘I’ll either have to bring candy to win them over or my cane to flog them.’”—from The Trial
This is, without a doubt, my favorite part of The Trial. As Josef K. is being led to his death, he sees a figure that he believes to be Fraülein Bürstner. The following is one of his final reflections before he meets his untimely death:
"At that moment, coming up a small flight of stairs to the square from a narrow lane below, Fraülein Bürstner appeared before them. He couldn’t be absolutely sure it was her; there was certainly a strong resemblance. But it made no difference to K. whether it was really Fraülein Bürstner; the futility of resistance was suddenly clear to him. There would be nothing heroic in resistance, in making trouble for these men, in trying to enjoy a final vestige of life by fighting back. He started moving again, and part of the pleasure he gave the men by doing so was transmitted back to him. Now they allowed him to choose the direction they should take, and he chose to follow in the steps of the young woman ahead of them, not because he wanted to catch up with her, and not because he wanted to keep her in sight for as long as possible, but simply not to forget the reminder she signified for him.
'The only thing I can do now,' he said to himself, and the way his steps matched those of the other three confirmed his thoughts, 'the only thing I can do now is keep my mind calm and analytical to the last. I've always wanted to seize the world with twenty hands, and what's more with a motive that was hardly laudable. That was wrong; do I want to show now that even a yearlong trial could teach me nothing? Do I want to leave the parting impression that I'm slow-witted? Shall they say of me that at the beginning of my trial I wanted to end it, and now, at its end, I want to begin it again? I don't want them to say that. I'm grateful they've sent these half-mute insensitive men to accompany me on this journey, and that it's been left to me to say to myself what needs to be said.'”
-This scene was taken from the novel, The Trial, translated by Breon Mitchell and published by Schoken Books Inc.
“I have no right to complain that I am alone and have nobody that I can trust. I certainly lose nothing by that and probably spare myself trouble. I can only trust myself and my burrow.”—from The Burrow, by F.K.
“Parents who expect gratitude from their children (there are even some who insist on it) are like usurers who gladly risk their capital if only they receive interest.”—from The Diaries of Franz Kafka, November 12, 1914
“Last night I dreamed about you. What happened in detail I can hardly remember, all I know is that we kept merging into one another. I was you, you were me. Finally you somehow caught fire.”—Franz Kafka to Milena Jesenska, 1921
Do you have an iPod, iPhone or iPod touch that has iBooks on it? There is a selection of Kafka’s work available on iTunes- for free! You can download works such as The Trial and The Metamorphosis straight to your Apple device. Also note that German versions are available!
“We were expelled from Paradise, but it was not destroyed. The expulsion from Paradise was in one sense a piece of good fortune, for if we had not been expelled, Paradise would have had to be destroyed.”—F. Kafka