Sunday, March 24, 2013

Who is accusing me?


"What I mean is...," said K. without delaying a second time, "that, yes, I am very surprised but when you've been in the world for thirty years already and had to make your own way through everything yourself, which has been my lot, then you become hardened to surprises and don't take them too hard. Especially not what's happened today."  "Why especially not what's happened today?"  "I wouldn't want to say that I see all of this as a joke, you seem to have gone to too much trouble making all these arrangements for that.  Everyone in the house must be taking part in it as well as all of you, that would be going beyond what could be a joke. So I don't want to say that this is a joke."  "Quite right," said the supervisor, looking to see how many matches were left in the box.  "But on the other hand," K. went on, looking round at everyone there and even wishing he could get the attention of the three who were looking at the photographs,  "on the other hand this really can't be all that important.  That follows from the fact that I've been indicted, but can't think of the slightest  offence for which I could be indicted. But even that is all beside the point, the main question is: Who is issuing the indictment?  What office is conducting this affair?  Are you officials?  None of you is wearing a uniform, unless what you are wearing" - here he turned towards Franz - "is meant to be a uniform, it's actually more of a travelling suit.  I require a clear answer to all these questions, and I'm quite sure that once things have been made clear we can take our leave of each other on the best of terms."   The supervisor slammed the box of matches down on the table.  "You're making a big mistake," he said. "These gentlemen and I have got nothing to do with your business, in fact we know almost nothing about you.  We could be wearing uniforms as proper and exact as you like and your situation wouldn't be any the worse for it.  As to whether you're on a charge, I can't give you any sort of clear answer to that, I don't even know whether you are or not.  You're under arrest, you're quite right about that, but I don't know any more than that.  Maybe these officers have been chit-chatting with you, well if they have that's all it is, chit- chat.  I can't give you an answer to your questions, but I can give you a bit of advice: You'd better think less about us and what's going to happen to you, and think a bit more about yourself.  And stop making all this fuss about your sense of innocence; you don't make such a bad impression, but with all this fuss you're damaging it.  And you ought to do a bit less talking, too.  Almost everything you've said so far has been things we could have taken from your behaviour, even if you'd said no more than a few words.  And what you have said has not exactly been in your favour."

(Kafka, The Trial, 1925, translated by David Wyllie)

No comments: