The Trial

The Trial Imagery

Silently Shining Moon (Visual & Auditory Imagery)

On the evening after his arrest, K. enters Fräulein Bürstner's room to discover that it has returned to normal. Kafka writes: "The moon was silently shining in the dark room. As far as could be seen, everything was in its place, even the blouse wasn’t hanging from the window-catch any more." In this example of imagery that combines the visual and auditory, Kafka ascribes silence to the moonlight that fills the room to underscore the peace and calm of the room, which contrasts against the disordered state he last saw it in.

Noise of the Meeting Returning to Life (Auditory Imagery)

After K. leaves his first hearing in a huff, Kafka writes: "Behind came the noise of the meeting returning to life. They were probably starting to discuss the events, in the way students do." In this example of auditory imagery, Kafka contrasts the silence of K.'s abrupt exit with the growing murmur of distant voices.

Pepper-Like Odor (Olfactory Imagery)

As Leni seduces K., she sits on his lap. Kafka writes: "Now she was so close to him he could smell the bitter, provocative odor she exuded, like pepper." In this example of olfactory imagery, Kafka illustrates the proximity of Leni's body to K.'s by describing her particular scent, which is at once bitter and arousing, reminiscent of black pepper.

Faint Smell of Burning (Olfactory Imagery)

While lamenting the slow progress of his case in his office, K. opens the window, through which pours a mix of snowflakes and fog and smoke (i.e. smog pollution). The room fills "with a faint smell of burning." In this example of olfactory imagery, the scent of burning emphasizes the bleak atmosphere in K.'s office. While he might have liked to bring in some fresh air to lessen his sense of confinement, instead he lets in snow and smoke.

Knife in Heart (Visual Imagery)

At the end of the novel, the men hired by the court to execute K. end his life by holding him down and plunging a knife into his heart before turning the knife around twice. In an example of lurid visual imagery, Kafka emphasizes the brutal, abrupt, and undignified manner in which K.'s case and life are dispatched.