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A Battle with Invisible Enemies in Kafka's The Trail

Powerful Essays
A Battle with Invisible Enemies in Kafka's The Trail

A sudden intrusion disrupts Joseph's peaceful life and brings him in a battle of life and death. Unlike usual warfare, Joseph is combating the enemies who can neither be seen nor can fight back. Begin with the arrest and end with an execution, what judges the main character is not merely the invisible power but also the decaying law.i[i] One of the main ideas, "A Battle with Invisible Enemies," in The Trail could be applied to the situation of Joseph as it applies to the theme of the fiction. Secondly the main character's action in the novel also brings out the idea of his struggling. The theme either appears in the dialogue between Joseph K. and the inspector. Moreover, the structure is under the influence of the idea. Finally, variations of the idea show some profound implications of human society.

To Joseph K., the situation itself is a mystery. This is a story about a normal person suffers from absurd circumstances. One fine morning, an unknown person arrested K. without any reason. It suggests that "The opening of The Trail conveys a public intrusion into the private sphere as men, who seem to be state officials but turn out to be also associated with his place of work, penetrate a citizen's bedroom and arrest him."ii[ii] And it is just the beginning of series disasters. As Joseph tries to understand what actually happens, he receives only this answer, "We are not authorized to tell you that." (p. 6) In later the parts of The Trail, K. is treated as a suspect and investigated by an inspector. However, the whole process of the arrest and investigation seems to be not only illegal but also arbitrary and absurd. Even in the judgment, K. is ex...

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vii[vii] Speirs and Sandberg, 87.

viii[viii] Stanley Corngold, Franz Kafka: The Necessity of Form. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988) 248.

ix[ix] Speirs and Sandberg, 97.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Franz Kafka. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Boa, Elizabeth. Kafka: Gender, Class, and Race in the Letters and Fiction. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

Corngold, Stanley. Franz Kafka: The Necessity of Form. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.

Emerich, Wilhelm. Franz Kafka: A Critical Study of His Writing. New York: Ungar Publishing, 1968.

Hayman, Ronald. Kafka: A Biography. New York: Oxford University press, 1982.

Lawson, Richard H.. Franz Kafka. New York: Ungar, 1987.

Speirs, Ronald, and Sandberg, Beatrice. Macmillan Modern Novelists: Franz Kafka. London: Macmillan Press, 1997.
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