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AZ Christian University Before the Law by Franz Kafka Literary Analysis Paper

AZ Christian University Before the Law by Franz Kafka Literary Analysis Paper

Question Description

I’m working on a english writing question and need a sample draft to help me study.


In this short story, Before the Law, Franz Kafka represents the law as a physical space. The entire story is about a man from the country who is trying to get through a gateway that will let him enter into the law. As this man approaches, he sees that though the gate is open, there is a gatekeeper in front of it. The gatekeeper tells the man that he cannot let him through. The man asks if he will be allowed in later. The gatekeeper says it’s possible, but it is unclear why the man isn’t allowed in and also unclear if, when, and why he might be let in in the future. The gatekeeper warns that there are more gatekeepers ahead. As noted in the story, ‘The man from the country has not expected such difficulties: the law should always be accessible for everyone,’ he thinks, but as he now looks more closely at the gatekeeper, he decides that it would be better to wait until he gets permission to go inside. Because the gatekeeper seems to have authority, the man decides not to barge through. Days, weeks, and years go by as the man waits by the gate. The man even offers his belongings to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper takes everything, but says, ‘I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything.’ The man from the country thinks that he just needs to ask the right question or do the right thing to be allowed in, but nothing the man does seems to matter to the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper asks the man some questions, but he doesn’t seem interested in the responses. The man waits so long that he is old and nearly deaf. He is still entirely fixated on the gate. He sees light streaming out from the entryway and realizes that he has one question left. ‘Everyone strives after the law…so how is it that in these many years no one except me has requested entry?’ The gatekeeper replies, ‘Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going to close it.’ The man from the country dies, and the gatekeeper closes the gate.



This short story suggests that obstacles that one faces in life can either be used to mold one’s success or bring about one’s failure. If one can overcome the challenges that they are faced with, they grow in a unique type of way, for every individual perceives each situation in a distinct fashion. That unique type of growth is what establishes a person’s character and perception of the world. However, if one cannot overcome their obstacles, then they cut off their means for growth and are left uninspired, forgetting any dreams or aspirations. It is through the man’s interactions with the gatekeeper, and his inability to overcome this obstacle, that eventually leads him down the path of complacency and failure. It is the gatekeeper in this parable that keeps the man from gaining access to the law, and his inability to pass this gatekeeper that leads to his demise. It is important to realize that the man strives to reach “the law”, however he winds up getting only as far as the gatekeeper.


  • Write a 2250 word literary analysis essay in MLA format about the given analysis above.
  • Aim to convince readers that your analysis is interesting, important, and contributes to the conversation about the short story.
  • Back up your ideas with supporting quotations and examples from the short story and two outside sources.
    • Note: The entire short story – “Before the Law” – is provided below.
    • Note: You must use two other sources and you must cite them in the 8th edition of MLA format.
    • Note: You must use quotations and examples from the short story.

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