World Literature Essay

Topics: Franz Kafka, The Trial, Narrative Pages: 4 (1303 words) Published: February 16, 2008
World Literature Essay

The presentation and significance of the theme of alienation in The Trial and The thief and the dogs.

When he found himself alone again on the highroad, he felt all hope of ever reaching the castle fail within him. He could see no villages at all…and the worst of it was his conviction that they would never appear again. (Broken April)

The readers are presented with a dramatic opening in The Trial. As Joseph K wakes up one fine morning, he is suddenly arrested ‘without (his) having done anything wrong' . While the story talks about ‘The Law' pressing charges against him, the nature of his offense is not revealed. What seems almost absurd to the reader is that the accused is allowed to move freely and is asked to visit a Court without a judge to preside over the proceedings! The reader's mind is plagued by ambiguity as the protagonists asks, in vain, ‘Who accuses me?' or ‘What is The Law?'

The protagonist is placed in a surreal world, incomprehensible to him and to the readers. However, the people around him treat the events in Joseph's life with casual acceptance, showing ‘grave negligence or indifference in their treatment of him' .

A similar plot development has been adopted in The thief and the dogs. Said Mahran comes out of a prison after spending ‘four years of my (Said's) precious life' . As he expects to ‘breath the air of freedom', a sudden realization dawns upon him – ‘there is no one waiting for him; nothing but his blue suit and gym shoes.' Said enters the ‘changed' world only to bite the ‘stifling' dust and feel the ‘unbearable heat'. The word ‘blue' may connote ‘blues' or sadness felt by the protagonist. Thus the setting distances the protagonist's expectation from reality, and puts him in a world where he cannot relate to anyone, for ‘everyone looked on him with malicious interest.' In this...
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