The Trial
Franz Kafka
Contributed by Sung Miele
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Chapter 4
Summary

K. repeatedly tries to contact Fräulein Bürstner. But she has decided to move out and a very pale French teacher - Fräulein Montag moves in. Fräulein Bürstner neither replies nor returns. In effect she has rejected the letters that he wrote. Finally when K. speaks to Fräulein Bürstner she realizes that he is forgiving in his nature. Frankein Gruback is glad that Frankein Burstner’s room. Franlein Montag’s room is now given to her nephew the captain. She does not realize that K. resents Fräulein Bürstners’ moving out.

K. does not have any breakfast. He has an aversion for it and feels as if Fräulein Montag is mixed up with his food. Her pale, emaciated appearance repels him.

The physical description of the rooms is graphic with almost a cinematic eye for detail. Fräulein Bürstner conveys through Fräulein Montag, her refusal to meet K. Captain Lanz respectfully kisses Fräulein Montag’s hand as opposed to K.’s aversion to her. K. feels that this action is indicative of a conspiracy among them directed against him. He also feels that Fräulein Montag has an exaggerated idea of his relationship with Fräulein Bürstner. He tries to prove her wrong and knocks at Fräulein Bürstner’s room. But Fräulein Bürstner has moved out. K. enters the room and sees that the furniture has been rearranged . He is in great shock when he finds Fräulein Montag and the captain lying about the escapade.

Analysis

Both Fräulein Bürstner and Frau Gruback are forgiving and compassionate though they avoid meeting K. K. is arrogant enough to Frau Gruback when he changes his coat and enters the dinning room without knocking while meeting Fräulein Montag. He is equally arrogant when he thinks that being just a typist, Fräulein Bürstner should be grateful to him for her relationship with him. The rearrangement of the furniture and the change in the room are described in detail. This is in keeping with the cleansing imagery in the novel. The unexpected shake up in the boarding house is again a change in his orderly mechanical life. He can no longer be confident and take his relationships for granted.

The uncanny nature and senselessness of the arrest makes K. seek Fräulein Bürstner. He wants closeness and contact and surrender to his erotic feelings. But Fräulein Burstner always maintains her distance. But he never admits to himself that she is anything more than a distraction. He sees himself as dominating in their relationship. This is why he loses her as a friend. She is the only one close to him on whom he can depend. But he has distanced and alienated her. But the incident has only confirmed his egocentricity. Within his narrow circle of friends it is strange that even the Fräulein discards him and fails to comfort him K.’s rigid attitude prevents him from coming out of his egoistic shell.

K. cannot adjust to Fräulein Montag’s mannerisms, her pedantic schoolteacher’s manners is a replica of his officious, chief clerks bachelor life. He cannot get close to her and resents her being the neighbor.

Fräulein Bürstner promise of meeting him on "Sunday" was so cheery that he looks forward to that. Montag’s name or sight disappoints him.

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