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Joseph K. is staying in rooms rented out by the landlady, Frau Grubach. The story begins with the unexpected arrest of Joseph K., the bank clerk. It is a strange kind of arrest. He is told to dress in an unimpressive manner. His breakfast is served not by the housekeeper, but by the warder, Franz. Willem is another warder. K. meets the inspector and questions his manners. But K. is allowed to make telephone calls. K. constantly inquires the reason for his arrest. He is permitted to contact his lawyer, Hasterer. An old couple and a younger man with a red beard are observing the spectacle from the window across the street. He is also allowed to go to work in the bank. Three of the bank officers, clerks, subordinates of K. are already there to accompany him. They are, the rigid Rabensteiner, the fair complexioned Kullich and Kaminer whose smile appears to be false. K. has been totally unaware of their presence all this time.
K. meets Frau Grubach, the landlady when he returns from the Bank. She is apologetic for not meeting him in the morning. She is sorry for him but K. is too arrogant to accept her apology. Next, K. wants to meet Fräulein Bürstner. Frau Grubach does not approve of Fräulein Bürstner's late homecoming. K. defends Bürstner.
Fräulein Bürstner comes in late at half past eleven. Bürstner is not interested in his arrest. But K. insists on telling her his version of the story. He also presumes that Fräulein Bürstner has no knowledge of legal matters. Bürstner says she is going to join the law office, as a clerk. There is a captain who knocks at the door. He is Captain Lanz, and Frau Grubech's nephew. K. tells her that Frau Grubach has borrowed some money from him, and he respects her. He talks to her for an hour and a half. While leaving her room he grabs her and kisses her outside the Captain's room.
K. is never summoned to the courts in the next few weeks. One Sunday he goes to the courtroom and finds dusty, unused law books. The washerwoman is the only one there. She is the usher's wife and lives in one of the rooms. The examining magistrate uses her room to complete his work. On the pretense of expressing his gratitude to her, the magistrate presents the washerwoman with a pair of silk stockings. Suddenly the student who forced himself on her in the courtroom barges in. K. gets a sudden urge to drag the woman and keeping her as his mistress. Even though he punches the student, K. is not able to stop the student's actions. It is the examining Magistrate who has sent for the woman through the student. The woman politely declines K.'s help. He once again punches the student. He practically carriers her to the Magistrate.