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MonkeyNotes-The Trial by Franz Kafka
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Chapter 9

Summary

K. is expected to accompany an important and powerful Italian client on a sight seeing trip of all the beautiful monuments in the city. The Bank trusts K. enough to entrust him with the responsibility, but K. is embroiled in his own trial. K. feels that people are trying to get rid of him in the office. In his absence he imagines the Assistant Manager running through his office files and befriending his old customers. The Assistant Manager could even find fault in his dealings. So he is willing to accept any task that is assigned to him. K. suffers from a great many fears. He is afraid somebody will blame him and keep him away from work. The Bank rates him highly as an art expert, though has a limited knowledge of art. He is a member of the society for the preservation of ancient monuments. The Italian is believed to be an Art Connoisseur. K. seems to be fixed to a spot, static, rooted in his Italian dictionary the trial on his mind and his official duties, while events revolve around him.

Leni suddenly rings him up. She cannot understand why the Bank wants him to visit the Cathedral. He does not want to be pitied but he gives vent to the feeling that the official pressure of work is more than he can take. He carries the album of architectural pictures with him. It is a wet, sluggish day.

There is a constant reference to windows in the chapter, with the characters peeping out, viewing or they are seen from outside looking through a window. In the church, there is an old woman kneeling before a Madonna with rapt attention. There is a beautiful play of light and shade in the cathedral. K. moves to a small chapel on one side. There is a picture of a knight in armor leaning on his sword and another painting of Christ lying in the church.


In this chapter there is an in-depth description of the cathedral. The pulpit stands above, rising with its high canopy and two great golden crucifixes. This is the most beautiful description of the cathedral. As K. shoves his hand inside the huge stone pulpit a verger stares at him. Every pulpit has a vaulted canopy. Why is there a lighted lamp hanging above? At the stairway leading to the pulpit is a priest looking at K. The priest is the prison chaplain. K. tries to make his exit. The Italian has not arrived. K. seems to be the sole congregation. K. recollects that he used to play riding on horseback, limping as a child. The verger is an old man. He wonders why the church is empty.

The priest a young man is absolutely at peace, standing with folded hands in the quietness of the cathedral. He commands K. to stay. K. realizes for the first time that his name is now associated with crime, for the priest address him and counsels him because of the alleged crime. The chaplain tells him that he is not prejudiced against him. He seems to know everything about the court.

The cathedral is shrouded in darkness. It is raining outside. The canopy hangs like a heavy weight on the priest's head. K. starts trusting the priest. He feels suddenly that every aspect of his life need not be dictated by the trial and he can extricate himself from its tangles. The priest seems to lead the way.

The priest speaks from the pulpit so that K. would take things more seriously. The priest counsels him that he should not approach the court with mistrust. He relates a parable.

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