A Criminal Proceeding


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'A Criminal Proceeding' is just my impression of real-life courtroom drama as it's presented in the popular press. When I read one of these things, usually while buttering yet another slice of toast, I never know who anyone is or what the person on trial is supposed to have done. Do you?"


Account of a complex criminal trial as absurd media spectacle.


  • Brodie is arrested on Good Friday, which is surely an intentional reference to Christ's crucifixion. While Christ's trial shares some absurd qualities (notably the unruly crowd) with the trial depicted in this story, Christ was arrested on the Thursday prior to Easter Sunday, according to Christian scripture, so Brodie is not a Christ figure per se. The presiding judge's name (McGrail) could be a Christian reference, however.
  • Franz Kafka's The Trial has a similar absurdist view.

Unresolved Questions

  • For what crime(s) is the defendant on trial?

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