Rejection: It's a Lonely State (Kafka and Freud)

Essay by adammills1 November 2004

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If nobody believed in you, how long would you continue to try before giving up? In the two books I am going to discuss, both authors portray that rejection is a key aspect in how one lives their life. From extreme lows to great heights, the average person experiences a rollercoaster ride of emotion in their everyday life and how they are able to cope with that is determined by the choices they make in life. In Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, the nature of Gregor Samsa's reality changes insignificantly in spite of his drastic physical changes. Gregor's life before the metamorphosis was limited to working and caring for his family. As a traveling salesman, Gregor worked long, hard, strenuous hours that left little time to experience his true happiness. Gregor, working to pay off his family's debt, has resigned himself to a life full of work, which in turn leads to what is called a metamorphosis.

Freud, in his book Civilization and Its Discontents discusses how the demeanor of civilization is corrupt in ways which leads to a life of misery. Freud also believes that our "just" world isn't as "just" as we'd like to think. Then he mentions how beauty, cleanliness and order are the important factors that occupy our civilization. Throughout both works, the authors portray that rejection is a key aspect in how miserable ones life can be and the consequences which come hand in hand with feeling rejected from other people or the norm of society.

It is apparent even in the first sentence "As Gregor Samsa awoke from unsettling dreams one morning he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin" (Kafka 7) that Kafka meant something underneath the surface. Awakening from unsettling dreams could mean awakening from an uneasy, labored life...