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to begin with, i have to say the idea of kafka himself being on the "outisde" of the society in which he lived

, and even a sort of paranoia abotu being this outsider, is first and foremost the central theme of my understanding of kafka, and it heavily influences the way i read and understand his work. i have always thought him to be a sort of innocent but accepting outcast of his environment, someone who was always "on the outside," didn't know the secret that everyone else was in on, but accepted it nonetheless, without expecting retribution. not that this was an easy thing to do, but what alternative was there? i think kafka was very disappointed with the way his world was and how the poeple around him treated each other, and he did not feel like a part of "their" society because he could see these faults where they could seemingly not see them. i have thought that this theme runs through most of his writings, because of his living conditions. it might be possible, though, that i am making it up, and merely seeing in his stories what i want to see. sort of projecting into them what i feel is happening around me, i guess. however, it is with this sort of anti-society viewpoint that i interpret kafka's work, for good or for ill. i don't know if this boggs me down to a bound, narrowlyfocused opinion, instead of a more universal level than just these stories being kafka "venting" frustations at an impure, difficult and counter-productive world. however, this is not to say that kafka thought society was hopeless or inherently evil, i don't think. on the contrary, i think he held relationships with people very dearly- and it was because of this that the inadequacies around him drew so much of his attention. i believe he had high hopes for what society could be, but the current state of things was infuriatingly inferior. but, please bear that in mind when trying to understand my model of the story, because it is where i am coming from. but now, on to the story.

in regards to "before the law," someone once said "the Law is simply presented as the place into which one wants entry." that, however vague, is exactly what i think the law is. it doesn't need to be something as concrete as "heaven" or "riches" or "freedom" or anything else (not that those areparticularly "concrete" ideas, though). and, it could very well be different for every society that reads this story. which may be why kafka left it so open- so it would be practically universally applicable. for kafka's society, then (and, by extension, ours), what i have always thought the law to be is kind of an abstract sense of belonging to society. "the law" to me seemed to be the sort of unwritten code that people in our society live by; not necessarily the laws written and supported by our governments or gods, but written, intentionally or unintentionally, by ourselves, colletively. and i say "written" not to mean actually written down anywhere, but just as a sort of understanding people have with one another, on how to act in each other's company.

this etiqutte, however, would be absolutely mysterious and unfathomable to someone outside this collective, and this, i think, is where the man from the country comes in. i don't know if anyone else has expereienced this, but i often feel i'm on "the outside" of things, and simply am not aware of many things that the people around me "just know." whether i was not told of these things and they were, or if i just failed to perceive them at one point or other in my life while they came to understand them, i don't know. but it seems to me, very plainly, that there is a wide variety of "knowledge bits" (for lack of a better phrase) i am not privy to- and i think it is this collection of knowledge bits that makes up the abstract idea of "the law."

but the law is not a seperate entity. although i think it is this group of unwritten codes, it cannot exist without the society that has established them. so, the law and this society are almost synonomous-

.until then. and without knowing this law and acting in accordance with it. and justifies one's crossover into the evil. every society today has it's own culture. is more pervasive. as if it was intentionally against the law. i think. or regarded as an equal member. the door. i'm afraid i'm not explaining this very well. the first is a sort of "judgement. the second. since the man from the country doesn't know the law. this is no easy task. i think the story can be more easily understood. forced to sit alone on a stool outside society. but let us be ever-vigilant about analogies. is the country man's life. or commited an act that clashed with their sense of the law. yet one that provides a comfortable existance to those within it. for infractions of the be accepted. yet more user-friendly (at least in the short-term) society. since this codes are not written down anywhere. or is the pain and suffering just too much. and regaled as an outsider. as i believe it was in kafka's time. you have to live a life suitable to them. even though the Good life would be outside of this society. and only you can alter your own life. or the code of this society. not in accordance with it)." everytime this happened i would be singled out and charged with explaining my actions. language. that is what each of us must do to become a part of a new society. if i did make a mistake. that's one possibility. it is up to each of us to learn the law. the great debate then would be is the Good life worth all the pain and suffering it takes to live it.or at least mutually-dependant (you cannot seperate breathing from human life. and i regarded as "different. i think. then. it could be that this society. the next image in the story is the gatekeeper. wondering what the heck this law is all about. the door would open and he would be an abberationless member of the society. we are held "before the law. idioms. the people around me are not constantly looking at my actions and evaluating them. to prove we are one of them. the second possibility is that the gatekeeper could be the man's conscious. if he can master the law and live by its guidelines. therefore. yet it is so large that is can bowl down any opposition. propability has it that he will slip up again and again." in isolation and continually on trial. however. history. we must prove that we are indeed worthy of this.everything that makes that society what it is. so i'll move on. everyone is subject to the judgement of others. with that being said. everything he does is wrong (or rather. and then live by it. if you will. the society might be inherently wrong and evil. without me even knowing what the law (or all the codes) is. is a very corrupt one. before we will be allowed in.especially to such a social creature as a human. therefore. though. and yet. be identified as someone not "in the know" about this society. and i don't even think it's an active trial. it would be noticed. accept as one. but. and subsequently let in the door. without knowledge of th elaw. i think the gatekeeper has two possibilities. "the law" is the basis for how society works. we cannot be a part of society." to enter into and be accepted by this society." the continual judgement we are subjected to while in this society. and are so much a part of the collective unconscious that someone within the law probably couldn't even spell them all out for you. which is why "no one else could have been admitted. lifeoutside the soceity would be incredibly difficult. or the dark side. as well as in ours. but. and why he doesn't know it. however right and just the opposition might be. for an outsider to try to identify these things on his own is almost impossible. so he is continually being faced with this judgement.). and you cannot have human life without breathing.

with paying stricter attention to specific elements of the story. one thing that might account for our differing viewpoints. and i hope to explain why further on. the man knows the "right" thing to do is to remain outside the society. i haven't read the story in awhile. i don't exactly know how. i admit my thoery is an abstract one. this difference in our models . which he has to quite before it will allow him to enter the society. and asked me a few additional questions.. now. on whether or not he is worthy of admittance through the gate. though. but from different points of view.. i left some of his comments in. as to why he's selling out the Good life for the easier life. I find it kind of > interesting and funny that we could have come up with such very > different answers. one gains freedom. though > and would really love to try to reconcile it with my own > interpretation of the Law as etiquettelessness . i will go back and reread it tonight. > I'm willing to accept your depiction of the Law as etiquette." which should keep a sort of logical flow and help you understand. and that the reason he wants to become a part of this society is that it is an easier life. the descion is his to make. but that through > which. and i would like to appologize for the certianly inadequate nature of my explination. in passing. and what JCC and Toby's posts cajoled in me about it.. the door/gate is the Law. here is an example of where i think we're saying the same thing. so. below is my reply. then the gatekeeper could be the man from the country's conscious. and i think you do. so only he can ever pass through the door. if you understand what i'm talking about. but i do think some basis for this theory exists in the text. i at least want to make my ideas clear.even if you don't agree with me. by the doorkeeper. but. you can probably stop there. but in that model."Perhaps then. and if i could elaborate further.or chose to not pass through. someone reading the above ramblings didn't understand. good luck. and if it is wrong. social rules are > exactly the thing that must be erradictaed before entry into the law > is possible. though. but. i think my view is a possibilty. that is not where i'm coming from.. i am under the impression that the gate is the "goal" towards which this man is striving. only he can make this descion. so they can be commented on with understanding. so all of what i said above is based off what i thought of the sotry at the time. and live within the law. i think. In the model I've constructed. is that i don't really equate "the Law" with "the gate" in the story. preceeded by ">. however. and i hope you can extrapolate enough to fill the holes. and the Law is the basis against which he is being judged. and since i make references to the other message. the Law is not freedom. he has to try to rationalize this to his guilty conscious.. i realize that the story heavily implies that what the doorkeeper is guarding in the story is the Law. then i must necessarily also be wrong.if this is true. this is the basis from which i am speaking. i hope all of this doesn't sound too far-fetched or moronic.

for just when you feel you've learned something. is this correct? now my model is similar. etc. in my view. though. you are saying that we are being held down by this "law of etiquette" *the Law/gate+ (placed on us by what? society?) and until we relieve ourselves of this burden *pass through the gate+. freedom. i will try to explain how they are similar. though. how well he understands this etiquette. to enter society. how well he'll fit into the society. before he can enter society. you find there is still more you do not know. which is now (for whatever reason. doing a good job. and. so now. and live helter-skelter-like in disharmony. and say also. being kind and courteous to others and to nature. regardless of whether you agree with it. this is because society is so obsessed with idiotic pursuits like material wealth. then. the Law before he can pass through the gate. is entering society. these things he needs to know. though. he has thus far lived a life of solitude and persecution. passing through the gate. from prosecution. . he must be tested on.accounts for their apparent contradictory nature. i think from that you should be able to understand what i'm talking live in socitey is to disregard every worthwhile universal law there is." in that we are no longer restricted. so. it is in this way you see "freedom" as "etiquettelessness. the problem or apparent conflict is that yours necessitates "etiquettelessness" before the goal. what if we look at mine in the sense that the man. from what i understand of your model. with these two models side by side. therefore. if the seperation of the Law and the gate is conceded. he must be deemed "socailly acceptible" by the doorkeeper. we can never be free. however.we obtain a person freedom. your "etiquettelessness" fits in perfectly with my model. should be no problem for someone who is truely a memeber of this society. etc. that they lose sight of and interest in the things that are truely important (living a Good life. that the solitary life is "better" than the life in society. can be reached. and pass. taking into account the seperation of the Law and the gate. and that which can be focused on while living the solitary life. for someone who doesn't necessarily belong there. basically. as any misanthrope would. the main goal of the man is to become accepted into society (society in a generic sense. more on this later) is evaluating him on how well he has mastered the Law. superfical image and social standing. which was the goal from the start. and has been excluded form society." the "doorkeeper" (i put that in quotes now because i think he is the image for these continual test. these things the man is being tested on. personal egos. this never-ending testing would be excrutiating.hence his being outside the gate. is "the Law. acceptance. in this sense. and mine necessitates "adoption of etiquette" before the goal. here. which can be a whole different discussion) his goal. the man must throw down his previous lifestyle-etiquette (that of orderly living) and take up a new one (that of chaotic pleasure-seeking and meaningless appeasement). he must abandon the rules of etiquette he currently follows in his solitary life. these tests. before he can adopt the society's rules of etiquette. mind you. as well as the infinite series of susequent doorkeepers. everyone you meet in society tests you. and who truely belongs there. i will not define it right now). and not a special guardian detail. the doorkeeper.or just a life outside of society. but not necessarily intentionally or overtly. are what i see as a metaphor for the continual testing this society charges each of its members with. can be reached. but i think it can be reconicled. coming from society as a whole.).

however. If the door leads into a city. the goal of my model is similar to yours. they attain a "oneness" or belonging with the society that requires the Law. i will not say that the doorkeeper is etiquette. just look at what the opposite." and he spends his entire life debating the point. constant. whereas mine is acceptance into society. though.while this might not seem like your goal of freedom on the surface. the goal of your model is freedom." and i would agree with that.going to the parties. my model seeks "freedom from persecution. that is exactly it. once the Law is employed by soemone. because this man is not accepted by society. based on what they feel like doing to him. is to become a part of this society. let me also explain that connection. an arguement can be made that living in this society is not actually being "free. see. his goal. too." which being a memeber of this society affords. is part of the reason the man in the story never passes through the door. though. of course. in fact. you mean acceptance into the society. too. those outside this society are suject to ridicule for being different. the "in crowd" or "cool people" are the society to which all the other students supposedly aspire. > One of the things I noticed when I tinkered around with your model is > that it seems possible to say the doorkeeper is etiquette and that the > Law is intimacy without damaging any of the founding ideas. american high school. what does acceptance into society mean? to answer that." etc.where as you seek personal freedom. for the sake of being able to live peacefully. by the Law. and restricted to what he can and cannot do. i think the doorkeeper (or rather. basically. the list goes on. then. walking freely and unafraid down hallways and into bathrooms. think of it in terms of your average. so. therefore. and this. i do really like your phrasing of the Law being intimacy. etc. he truely knows that it's not worth it. as much as he _thinks_ he wants to. that is part of my model. the man and the gatekeeper are > alone. subject to impromtu examinations/made to answer if caught alone in the hallway by a group of the "in crowd. it is tempting. > The Law as etiquette model seems to require one to posit some > unmentioned element. if. i believe. all these things happen. he is singled out and highlighted by this society. to obtain the "freedom" that the members of society enjoy. but. not really etiquette itself. being disallowed to sit at "their" lunch table or go to "their" parties. but. because he is not a part of it. entails. so as not to contradict anything i said above. then why was not the city . or rejection from society. For instance. both of our models entail a throwing out of a good set of values and living in a state of disarray. that "freedom. all the doorkeepers) is the man putting his understanding of the society's etiquette into practice. pointless and uninstigated torture.

between what he knows is right. in good conscious. they were repulsed by the grotesqueness of gregor's new nature. this was the man's debate. then that posits a city around the scene-.or. he felt no animosity towards them. he didn't agree with everything they did or with the way they livied their lives. i think these worldly concerns are ignored in the story to make way for the more important message.which usually have fuzzy edges. but being so different all the time and always isolated was difficult. the man. probably lived among people of his society. the answer is surrealism. and lead a comfortable by insignificant and unjust life. but he also never quite fit in. i think the same applies here. yet no one really saw this as physically impossible. there is no physcial gate. which he could never resolve. a place to go to the bathroom. think of this story being told as a dream. and no physical gatekeeper. while sitting on the stool. not so much as a literal occurance. though. chose the other. still in this surrealistic vein. was not able to do. this is something that he. or truely like them. and to truly be . what is happening to his family and friends.even though he lived with them. too." then the need for a surrounding city. i think. to sucessfully satisfy the "gatekeeper" -> pass through the gate -> enter the society meant that this man must _fully_ and _completely_ embrace the Law. is actually the life-long internal struggle of the man.and if gregor can turn into an insect." i can see the possibility for this story ever taking place is that this man did indeed live among people. to give up his lifestyle and what he thinks is important to be like them. in a city. and is why he was never allowed into the society (to enter the gate). and live a tought but righteous and Good life. with no through to food. etc. or a city beyond the gate. however. and not dumbfounded by or questioning the physics. chose one. and adopt their lifestyle. i think the man. and felt none in return.> mentioned? If it doesn't. this is metaphor. and so sat outside the gates of society his whole life. and what he knows is easy. then this man can sit in isolation with the gatekeeper. in any > case. but leads into something like social > acceptance. if this story is a "dream. and normal common-sense rules donot always apply. this leads to the internal struggle within the manthe struggle between being his true self and his desire for a sense of belonging and for the intimate friendships he sees all around him. biology and chemistry behind it all. in his real life. i think." which was "just because you're accepted doesn't mean you belong. shelter from the weather. take "the metamorphosis. as well as the tagline for the movie "school ties. gregor turned into a bug. so to are the facts that this man sat on a stool outside a gate for years and years. and he wondered what it would be like to be like them. this contorversy is not an easy one. the need to pay bills and taxes. this is an easy one. is irrelevant. he could see a difference between himself and them. nor does their absence elicit alarm." for example. though. he felt distant from his friends and family and coworkers. but as an account of the process it takes to sucessfully enter society. the phrase "alone in a crowd" comes to mind. even within the story. and thus felt isolated and alone because of it. although he wasn't really one of them. another explination is possible. someone to be accepted by. it seemed to him as if they were part of a special group that he had not been asked to join. i kind of see this story. but.

. he _must_ forsake his true nature. he is unable to do. and adopt this new one. That leads > to the question: if the man from the country wants ultimatrly to > commune with the gatekeeper. the story is about everyone's need for acceptance and perhaps even validation. he must rework his personallity that does not currently fit in the society to one that will fit in the society. well. Yet the gatekeeper acknowledges and speaks to > him: he is distant and slightly taunting. i don't think it's either a particularly happy or sad ending. > I may be getting this muddled." he feels he must completely give up himself. not that those longings are bad or unnatural. And. but with that always coming in as a lower priority than our true selves. with this ending. a postulation of the Law as etiquette leads to > the postulation of the Law as intimacy. i feel like i am just repeating and repeating myself. to pass the test.accepted into "their society. > then we must conclude that the Law is what will allow him to commune > with the gatekeeper. because only then will he truly fit in the society and allowed to be free. yes and no. then the law cannot be etiquette. the man wa snot willing to sacrafice what he knew to be true and right for his selfish longings. he must not only understand the Law. > For instance: what is the gatekeeper. thus. though. by this time. what is the thing he wants to enter. but not cruel. . The capacity for > etiquette then becomes the thing he must exhibit in order to be > accepted in. to internalize the Law. though. i think. but i'll try to paraphrase my reasoning. to do this. what do the things > he says mean? the man wants to be accepted into the society to obtain a sense of freedom and fraternity. which i do not want to subject you to. what is the thing the man must > do to enter. but they just are not as important as the Truth. which. > Since these are not mentioned and it seems unnatural to posit them. he must pass the "gatekeeper's" (i explained what i feel is the nature of the gatekeepers above) test. So. i personally am glad the story ended the way it did. but embrace it and internalize it completely. incidentally. and > becomes something more like deep understanding. to do this. i think it's the "right" and "just" ending. i think i answered this above already. since the > gatekeeper figures quite prominently in your model. If you'd be willing to map out a > series of correlations with textual elements. that'd help a lot..and also in response to the below question. in the end.

before i go.perhaps not everyone does in fact strive to reach the Law. i really don't know. when he realizes that no one else seems to be going through what he is going through. i haven't quite worked this out. because of the inability to communitate with the society. whereas the man and the society each only spoke one language. in my model.the choice to live his current life or die and begin a new and different one. basically. perhaps it was that the gatekeeper knew from the very begining that the man. in the very fact that he cannot join society. he is gaining the "tool" of multilingualism. as so that resolves the test. through this death/rebirth thing. but i can't be sure. who can speak both languages. that the man's premise is not correct.english and spanish respectively. the opposition and otherness > were signs only of the lack of specific tools. in fact.the question of whether or not he wants to join society. and i am getting tired now and finding it hard to concentrate any more. it is the man himself that controls the open/shut status of the door. though. though. i can think of two reasons. the reason why the gatekeeper shut the door. possibly. then. unresolved. only he can make this choice. so how does it happen that for these many year no one but myself has ever begged for admittance.which means he must become a new person. the prolonged suffering and delibrations of the man merely becomes an act of cruelty on the part of the gatekeeper. this leaves the conclusion of the story. thus. who could have shut the door at any time and let the man get on about his life. by becoming like the gatekeeper." the gatekeepr's reply not only implies the indiviualist nature of these tests. i think. in speaking with the gatekeeper. what do you mean by "the becoming of him" and "tool-gaining"? i have a guess. this is the relationship of all the things in the story. he no longer has need to pass through the door and enter society. could never join the society.then the becoming of > him is always a tool-gaining. the first deals with the man asking why no one else has sought entrance through this gate. which kind of fits with the last sentence. because of his nature. the man says "everyone strives to reach the Law.other social codes-. and thus can attain a "oneness" with those of the soceity. he must decide for himself if he is willing to make this sacrafice. the second idea has more to do with predestination than anything else. do you just mean that to use yet another analogy: say for instance the gatekeeper was bilingual (english and spanish).since everyone is a misfit like him. if the gatekeeper represents an entity with other modes of > communication and action-.a seperateness due solely to the language barrier. he will obtain the intimacy he seeks. . because it is his life. however. > So. but this is the reason why only this man could ever pass through this door. it might provide him with a sense of kinship he didn't feel before when he thought everyone else was also wanted to be a part of society. he finds the intamcy he seeks. i must say that i didn't really understand this paragraph of yours. the man feels this opposition and otherness. he might give up out of desperation the hop eof ever joining society. but also. now. of course. the man finds out that he has to learn spanish to enter the society. and the gatekeep subesquently shutting the door. if this were known to the man.

once he understands this extend this. though." he can move successfully into the society. until he understands it. the man must adopt the new language which. too. . and no longerhas need for his previous "etiquette. freely speaking with them in their language. it probably just jibberish (etiquettelessness). that makes sense. where his native language is full of understood etiquette. to incorporate our "differeing-yet-similar" model ideas from before.