Now I think Kafkaesque means WTF lol. I mean at least this is how I interpret The Trial. And this is what Kafka wants - for me to see it as how I see it. I'm happy that I can now officially use "Kafkaesque" in my posts (not just to sound interesting and intellectual on the internet lol) because I've actually read the book and liked it. And to those who are planning to include Kafkaesque in their tweets, please read the book first so you don't sound like a deep thinker poser lol. Oh and same goes with "Sisyphean", "Big Brother", "Orwellian" etc. It's like wearing a band shirt and you don't know the band ha ha ha. I'm just kidding you guys.
First off FYI I still have some Franz Kafka hangover at the mo and I want to post my review straight away while everything is still fresh in mind. I also haven't checked goodreads.com yet (which I usually do after reading a book because I'm curious to know other people's trash opinions) because I want to write an unbiased and honest review based on my own interpretation.
I got this book because
- I'm deeply passionate about reading any existententialy or George Orwelly kind of book lately.
- It is cheap lol.
I just love mass-produced gray pages classic books because I think our local bookstores aim to sell these to poor students and most people where I am prefer to buy $20 Colleen Hoover books (no offense) lol.
Anyway I will talk about some scenes in The Trial so if you haven't read this must-read classic yet omg please please stop right now. I just finished reading this today and I'm so excited to share my diabolic thoughts here (I should be cleaning my place right now tbh). You guys might have some different interpretations but I don't care. This is how my simple mind works.
To be honest The Trial gave me the George Orwell 1984 feels but in a slight humorous way. The Trial didn't make me feel scared as 1984 though. 1984 lingered and made me question my own fears and how those could be used against me by my fellow diabolical peeps up there (if anybody in our gov knows any of it then I prefer to die right now on my own terms lol). Anyway I'll review 1984 some other time. Today is about my trial but omg, this book gave me a bit of anxiety to be honest. I don't think there's any other book that made feel so stressed okay sure it made me laugh sometimes but then there were some parts that just made me utter WTF every now and then. It felt like...
WHY is this happening??? WTF.
Imagine not knowing why you were accused or what you were accused of and suddenly you have to go through this whatever Trial and the poor looking court people (reminds me of the proles from 1984) policing you for no reason. Imagine when you're the only one who doesn't seem to know anything about your own trial. And yet Josef K still went through it all not knowing anything like WTF. He did try not to care at first but it was difficult. I could actually feel his stress. The part when the court officials could do anything and everything to you for no reason at all just gave me the 1984 feels. I thought this can happen to us too in this day and age, when those invisible people in "high court" have the power to decide our fate (Big Brother hello?). Scary isn't it? People acting unreasonable and just obeying what they were told to do to innocent people just like the 2 men who killed K. But is he really innocent? Who knows it's Kafkaesque lol.
There was some parts in the book where it became a bit boring like when the court procedures were explained in great detail and when the painter was trying to give K some options about his trial. This part made me worried a bit because I thought I'd go through another long and boring John Galt speech (that was pure torture) again. Anyway I'm glad I got past that fast enough to get to the most absurd yet interesting parts.
My best friend used to tell me that WHY is the most painful question of all. I remember him as I read The Trial. For instance, why were the 2 policemen being punished like dogs in front of Josef K and then the next day it was the same? Why "Block" the client of K's lawyer was also being punished like a dog in front of him and his crazy lawyer? All of these I think was just to make K obedient and fearful. It's not that I don't like the weirdness of it all. I actually love the things that don't make sense because it appealed to my own Kafkaesque self lol.
The doorkeeper story of the priest was also deeply thought-provoking. I think this was some analogy for K's trial situation. K listened to the priest and had a normal opinion about the story so he told him "why didn't the doorkeeper just let the man in especially when in the end that door was actually just for him?". The man did everything to please the doorkeeper because he wanted to enter the door to "the law". And when the man died, that was also the end of the doorkeeper's purpose in life - to serve the man or prohibit him from entering. This part reminded me of The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus. I actually learned about The Trial from this book because Albert Camus cited Kafka here. The story was so Sisyphean because the man's sole goal in life was just to enter the door and the repeated suffering was enough to fill his heart (just like Sisyphus).
The priest told K a different interpretation of the story. I understand this part as "who is the master and the slave" here? Is the man who was trying to get in was the one who was really free because he could actually just stop trying? Lucky is the man who can see the light that shines from the entrance which the whole time is just at the back of the doorkeeper. I think the doorkeeper's life is just all about controlling this man.
I see this as those who have the freedom can truly enjoy life while the rest of us just want to be doorkeepers. There are other things in life other than "the door" but why oh why do we prefer to be a slave to something until the end? Is that because freedom is too much that we prefer to suffer as slaves than suffer as free man? I think deep down we want to be ruled and owned. It does not matter who or what it could be a partner, boss, money, politician... anyway, I also think that we all need something that we can do over and over again because that kind of suffering is enough to fill our hearts (just like Sisyphus). But is the doorkeeper really the slave here? His whole life depends on the man who is trying to enter the door and without having someone to forbid from entering, then the doorkeeper doesn't have a job. No purpose. The funny thing is the man probably doesn't even know that he is the master. The master of his own life. Let us forget the door and just live our lives, shall we? Because who the F knows, in the end we'll just die like K, confused and shocked by all this madness around us.
My verdict? I love that I can make my own existential interpretation and deep meaning from this book. This is not only about bureaucracy and politics though it seems like that from the outside. Kafka really makes you think. I'm hooked and onto to the next. Overall, the whole reading experience for me was weird, a bit comical, dark and thought-provoking - just the way I like it. Kafka IS my style - not for everyone. Not for the girls outside the painter's door lol. Kafka's just telling me that that's just human behavior my dear. Irrational. Nothing surprising in here. That's what people could do when under control and what those in power could do to any of us - to the random Ks of the world. And what would you do if everything is up to you? Condemned to succumb to the madness around you. And if things are not up to you, are you just bound to accept your own trial without knowing? And die confused.
Above all, the free man is superior to the man who has to serve another.
You got a nice and captivating review here, your review of this book makes me want to get it as my next read, the main character seems to have felt the dept hell as his life journey (the trail). I think I might actually get a copy.
Yes I will leave it up to your own interpretation. I'm happy to have this book as my introduction to Kafka. :)
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