Summary and Analysis Chapter 6



K. is taken to the lawyer Huld by his obtrusive Uncle Karl (who greets his lawyer-friend by calling himself Albert), whose main worry is the shame his nephew is about to bring on the whole family by his involvement in a trial. A representative of the shallow bourgeois mentality, Uncle Karl cannot help but resort to the dubious, though publicly esteemed, Dr. Huld. This episode is also heavily autobiographical: Kafka always had to defend himself, as a person and an artist, against such well-intended but boorish and at any rate inefficient intrusions. Yet even his uncle knows enough to comment that "things like this don't occur suddenly, they pile up gradually, there must have been indications." This is an unequivocal view of K.'s life as the cause of his present involvement.

Leni is nothing but a tool of the Court, which is why she urges K. not to act stubbornly against the authorities. As opposed to the usher's wife, who is not depraved enough to want to be enslaved to the Court's lewd officials, Leni does not even desire her freedom from Huld. The diction used in her description is full of possessives and such little symbols of deformation as "claws" and "webbed hand." It is with these that Leni pulls down K. to the floor in an attempt to make herself his mistress. In a perversion of the old fairy tale motif of "loving girl breaks the spell cast on poor boy," Leni cannot and does not help him. Her erotic playfulness, rehearsed in long years with her employer, Huld, only serves to enslave K. physically. Later on, Block meets the same fate at her greedy lips.

Proportionately to the degree that K. is gradually becoming aware of the seriousness of his case, he thinks Leni might be able to help him. The truth is that he is even more distracted from relying on himself. He does not realize what she is doing until after the humiliation she inflicts upon Block on behalf of and with the help of Huld. The point of the chapter is that, whatever K.'s reason or rationalization for accepting outside help from anybody, the effect is bound to be negative.

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