The essence of the event is dispassionately stated in the first sentence of the work. Waking up on the day of his thirtieth birthday, Josef K. discovers that he is under arrest. Instead of a maid with a familiar breakfast, an unknown gentleman in black enters into his call. In the next room there are a few other people. They politely inform K., who was caught unawares, that “the beginning of his work is laid and at the proper time he will know everything.” These uninvited people who intruded to him in the dwelling and laugh, and outrage, and amaze K., who does not feel any guilt. He does not doubt for a moment that the incident is nothing more than a wild misunderstanding or a crude joke. However, all his attempts to find out something are encroaching on impenetrable courtesy.
Until now, K. had every reason to consider himself a lucky man, since he held a solid, solid position. In a large bank, he worked as a procurator, he had a spacious study room and many assistants at his disposal. Life flowed quite calmly and measuredly. He enjoyed the respect of both colleagues and his hostess in the pension Frau Grubach. When K. returned home after work, he was the first with Frau Grubach to be the first to cautiously talk about the morning visit and was very surprised that she was up to date. She advised K. not to take the incident to heart, to try not to hurt herself, and at the end of the conversation she shared with him her assumption that there was something “scientific” in his arrest.
Of course, K. was not going to take seriously the incident anyway. However, in addition to the will, he felt some confusion and excitement. Otherwise, how could he have made a very strange act that very evening? Having insisted on an important conversation, he went into the room to the surprised young neighbor of the boarding house, and the matter ended in the fact that he began to kiss her passionately, which he would never have allowed before.
Several days pass. K. tensely works in the bank and tries to forget the stupid case. But soon on the phone, he was informed that on Sunday a preliminary investigation into his case was scheduled. The form of this report is again very courteous and precautionary, although there is still nothing to understand. On the one hand, they explain to him: everyone is interested to finish the process as quickly as possible, on the other hand, the case is extremely complicated, and therefore the investigation must be conducted with all due diligence. K. in thought remains to stand by the phone, and in this pose he finds the deputy director – his longtime hidden ill-wishers.
On Sunday, K. gets up early, carefully dresses and goes to the outskirts of the specified address. He has a long time wandering around in ordinary-looking workplaces and can not find the right place. Quite unexpectedly, he discovers the purpose of his visit to one of the poor apartments. A woman washing clothes, lets him into the hall, crammed full of people. All faces are worn out, inconspicuous and dull. People stand even in the gallery. The man on the stage strictly tells K. that he was late for an hour and five minutes, to which the bewildered hero mumbles that he has come. After this, K. comes forward and resolutely begins to speak. He is determined to put an end to this delusion. He denounces the methods by which the so-called investigation is conducted, and laughs at the miserable notebooks that are issued for documentation. His words are full of persuasiveness and logic. The crowd meets them with laughter, then a murmur, then an applause. The room is filled with a dense child. Having finished his wrathful monologue, K. takes his hat and leaves. Nobody detains him. Only in the doorway, the investigator, who had been silent before, looked attentively at K. saying that he had deprived himself of the “advantage” by refusing to interrogate. K. in response laughs and in his heart calls him a joke.
It takes another week, and on Sunday, without waiting for a new call, K. himself goes to a familiar address. The same woman opens the door for him, informing him that today there is no meeting. They enter into a conversation, and K. finds out that the woman is aware of his process and outwardly full of sympathy for him. She turns out to be the wife of some court clerk who, with no major moral torment, changes it with anyone. K. suddenly feels that he is inevitably attracted to her. However, the woman eludes him with some student who suddenly appeared in the room. Then the missing couple is replaced by a deceived servant husband, who does not disdain at all about the windy nature of the spouse. And this type also turns out to be fully dedicated to the process. And he is ready to give K. useful advice, referring to his rich experience. K. he calls the accused and kindly invites him, if he does not hurry, visit the office. And so they climb the stairs and go some long dark passages, see behind the bars of officials sitting at tables, and rare visitors waiting for something. “No one stood upright, his back was stooped, his knees bent, people stood like beggars.” All this was also accused, as K.
Gathered to leave this dismal institution, K. on the stairs suddenly feels the unknown to him before an attack of instantaneous fainting weakness, which he overcomes with effort. Did his body rebel, his thought flashed through him, and in it a different life process occurs, not the same life that proceeded so easily? ..
In fact, everything is even more complicated. Not only health, but the psyche, and the whole way of life of K. as a result of strange events, inevitably, although imperceptibly, change. As if these changes are not obvious, but with the inexorability of rock K. plunges into a strange, viscous, independent of his will and desire Something called the Process in this case. This process has its own course, its own underlying logic, hidden from the understanding of the hero. Without revealing the essence, the phenomenon appears to K. with its small details, eluding its persistent attempts to understand anything. For example, it turns out that although K. tries not to tell anyone about his process, practically everyone around him for some reason is aware of what is happening – colleagues at work, neighbors in the boarding house and even casual counter-people. This strikes K. and deprives him of his former confidence. It turns out also,
Happen and completely already incredible things. So, one day, having stayed late in the service, K. in the corridor hears sighs coming from the pantry. When he jerks the door open, he, not believing his eyes, discovers three bent men. One of them turns out to be an executor, and two are to be punished with rods. At the same time, as they whimper, they explain the reason for the flogging – K., who complained to them by the investigator in that very accusatory speech. In the eyes of astonished K. the executor begins to shower the unfortunates with blows.
Another important detail of what is happening. Everyone with whom K. collides in this story is treated with an emphatically polite and Jesuit warning, everyone readily answers to the explanations, and as a result it turns out that individually everything can be explained and understood, while the whole more disappears under the cover of escheat absurdity. Particulars substitute the whole, finally knocking the hero out of hand. K. is forced to deal only with small performers who willingly tell him about their own problems and who appear to be innocent of what is happening, and the highest authorities that he believes are responsible for everything remain unknown to him and inaccessible to him. He is fighting a certain system, into which he himself is irreparably inscribed.
So he moves through the circles of his process, dragging himself into the funnel of strange and faceless procedures, and the more he tries to protect himself, the more hurt his own business. One day a relative comes to him – an uncle who came from the provinces. As expected, the uncle has already heard about the process and is terribly concerned. He persistently drags K. to his familiar lawyer, who should help. The lawyer is ill, he accepts his uncle and K. in bed. Of course, he is also more than aware of the misfortune that befell K. The lawyer is courted by a smart young nurse named Leni. When in a long and boring conversation K. leaves the room, Leni drags him into the office and right there, on the carpet, seduces him. Uncle indignantly chastises his nephew, when after a while he and K. leave the house of the lawyer, again K. harmed himself, because it was impossible not to guess the reason for his long absence from the room. However, the lawyer by no means refuses to protect K. And he many times comes to him and meets with him waiting for Leni – she willingly gives K. his caresses, but this does not become a hero closer. Like other women in this novel – including the small cheeky nymphets emerging in one episode – she is cunning, fickle and irritating, agonizingly vicious.
K. loses rest. At work he is distracted, gloomy. Now fatigue does not leave him and in the end he overcomes a cold. He is afraid of visitors and starts to get confused in business papers, terrified, which gives rise to discontent. The deputy director has long been mocked at him. Once K. instructed to accompany some newcomer Italian. Despite the malaise, he drives up to the central cathedral, where an appointment is scheduled. The Italian is nowhere to be found. K. enters the cathedral, deciding to wait out the rain. And suddenly, in the solemn twilight, a strict voice called out from under the vaults. The priest, who calls himself a chaplain of the prison, insistently asks K. questions and reports that his process is bad. K. obediently agrees. He already understands it himself. The priest tells him a parable about the supreme Code of Laws, and when K.
And then the year passed and the evening arrived on the eve of the next birthday of K. About nine o’clock, two gentlemen in black appeared to him at the apartment. K. seemed to expect them – he sat in a chair by the door and slowly pulled on his gloves. He saw no reason to offer any resistance, although to the last he was ashamed of his own obedience.
They silently left the house, went through the whole city and stopped at an abandoned small quarry. With K. they took off their jacket and shirt and laid their heads on the stone. At the same gestures and movements of the guards were extremely helpful and courteous. One of them took out a sharp knife. K. felt the edge of his consciousness that he himself had to snatch this knife and plunge it into himself, but he lacked the strength to do so. His last thoughts were about a judge, whom he had never seen before, where was he? Where is the high court? Maybe some other arguments have been forgotten that could save his life? ..
But at that moment the hands of the first gentleman were already laid on his throat, and the second stuck a knife deep into his heart and turned twice. “K. saw with extinct eyes that both gentlemen at his very face, clinging to cheek with cheek, watched the denouement.” Like a dog, “he said, as if this disgrace was destined to survive him.”