As absurdly as the story of K. begins, it ends just as apocalyptically. The right understanding of this book is incomplete without the word Dystopia, which is defined as a ‘dismal imaginary place’.
The story is imaginatively dreary and dry. And this is through no fault of our half self-conscious protagonist Joseph K. accused of a crime that is perceived rather than committed. Perception also plays an important role in the book.
“They’re talking about things of which they don’t have the slightest understanding of, anyway. It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.”
Kafka mocks humanity by the choices it makes which also includes the choices that it doesn’t. Because beyond these soulless and futile decisions is a thinking order whose machinery we no longer have access to. We are presented with one stimulus after another, evoking desire or the lack thereof, until we’re desensitized to the pointlessness of it all.
The Trial unearths a closet full of political, psychological, and religious skeletons. And Kafka’s existential and individualistic style of writing threads these dimensions together. He opens up that can of worms and wants you, the reader, to put them in order.
Reading The Trial is not easy. The book is home to a rich and dense structure, but it’s necessary.
If anything, I would recommend Kafka’s The Castle as offering a more engaging narrative. So when you begin reading The Trial, you can finally decipher the futile but convoluted attempts of a totalitarian system adamant to provoke and replace identity with submission.
It doesn’t matter how I write this review, there’s a lot more left behind. This only convinces me to re-read The Trial as many times as I have to – to be able to uncover its substance and essence. Because this is a book that is made up of both; it’s a token of the world’s dogmatic imprisonment.