Thinking about Kafka’s The Trial

Here are some possible essay themes:

Justice and Injustice

Innocence and Guilt

The Use (or Misuse) of Parable

Self-esteem and Self-abasement

The Labyrinthine

The Nature of Power and Authority

The Individual and the Collective

Meaning and Absurdity

Joseph K. and Franz Kafka

The Trial

and the Modern World

Choose one theme to pursue. You are allowed to come up with your own, although I would like you to clear it with me first. Essays should be around six pages (not including the title page or bibliography). The themes are broad, but part of the assignment involves your coming up with a clear and effective thesis or argument about your theme in relation to The Trial. Your essay should have an introductory paragraph that closes with a proper and specific thesis statement, paragraphs organized around topics that reinforce your thesis, and a strong concluding paragraph.

For this essay I want you to use at least four critical resources, so check with the library to find the most appropriate books and/or articles. For books, the website Novanet provides a complete listing of all books and journals held by universities in Nova Scotia. For articles, the website JSTOR (which is free to access as Dalhousie students) provides thousands of articles on numerous subjects.

I want you to use the critics to aid your argument, but not to supplant it. Sometimes you may agree with the critic, but your argument is often enhanced by having an opinion to spar against. Be specific, focus in on key scenes or elements, and make sure that your argument is well supported with evidence and quotations from the works. When it comes to quoting from the text, comment on the quotes you use and do not simply allow them to speak for themselves.

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