Sa'di (c. 1213-1292)

Persian poet and prose writer, whose best-known works include Bustan (1256-57, The Fruit Garden), which contains histories, personal anecdotes, fables and moral instructions, and Gulistan (1258, The Rose Garden), a didactic work composed both of prose and verse. Sa'di is basically a moralist whose stories have similarities with Jean de La Fontaine's (1621-1695) fables. In Persia his golden maxims were highly valued and considered a treasure of true wisdom.
Condonation is laudable but nevertheless
Apply no salve to the wound of an oppressor of the people.
He who had mercy upon a serpent
Knew not that it was an injury to the sons of Adam.

(from The Rose Garden)
Shaykh Sa’di (Sa'di Shirazi), byname of Musharrif Od-din Muslih Od-din, was born in Shiraz (now in Iran). Little is known of his life, starting from the exact date of his birth. And Sa'di's autobiographical references in his writings are not necessarily meant to be taken literally. The year of Sa'di's birth is in some sources 1184, due to some misconceptions, and Sa'di did not die at the age of 108. However, it is known that Sa'di was orphaned at an early age. Later he mover to Baghdad, where he studied at the Nezamiyeh College. After completing his studies, Sa'di took to a wandering life. Also the conditions in Persia were unsettled. The Mongols had turned against the Islamic states and eventually conquered Baghdad in 1258. One of Sa'di's odes is a lament on the fall of the city.
Sa'di traveled in the Middle East, he was captured in North Africa by the Franks and was forced to labor on the fortress of Tripoli. It is possible that Sa'di made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Sa'di claims also to have visited Kashghar and India. In 1256-57 Sa'di returned to his native Shiraz and become known as a writer. His pseudonym Sa'di took from the local ruler, Sa'd ibn Zangi. After a long end eventful life, Sa'di died in Shiraz on December 9, 1292. His tomb is considered a national shrine. The complete works of Sa'di were published in Persian at Calcutta in 1791-95. Sadi's writings were first translated into French in 1634 and into German twenty years later. La Fontaine based his 'Le songe d'un habitant du Mogol' on a story from Gulistan (chapter 2:16), Diderot, Voltaire, Hugo and Balzac referred to Sa'di's works, and Goethe had adaptations from him in West-Ostlicher Divan. In the United States Ralph Waldo Emerson addressed a poem of his own to Sa'di.
Sa'di was a contemporary of Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273), famous for his didactic epic Masnavi-ye Ma'navi (Spiritual Couplets). The theme of Rumi's ghazals was sacred love; Sa'di wrote about profane love, although some of his ghazals were mystical: "I am happy through the world because the world is happy through Him; / I love the whole world because the whole world is His." The ghazal form, which Sa'di popularized, had been neglected until the thirteenth century. His work paved way for Hafez (d. c. 1388), who become considered the master of the form. In the ghazals the two lines of the first couplet rhyme with one another and with the second line of the following couplets, the individual couplets are often independent of each other. Sa'di's ghazals were held together by an unifying view. In many poems Sa'di's beloved is a young man, not a beautiful woman. In this he followed the conventions of traditional Persian poetry. Sa'di's own attitude toward homosexuals was more negative than positive. In the Gulistan he stated, "If a Tatar slays that hermaphrodite / The Tatar must not be slain in return." (3:12). Another story tells of the qazi of Hamdan whose affection towards a farrier-boy is condemned by his friends and the king, who eventually says: "Everyone of you who are bearers of your own faults / Ought not to blame others for their defects." In the West the homoerotic parts of Gulistan often were changed in the early editions.
Sa'di's style is pure, simple and elegant, his tone is sometimes severe, sometimes cheerful, blending humor with cynicism. He also produced a collection of pornographic anecdotes, Khabisat, written by a commission of his friend. The Bustan was presented to the local ruler. It consisted of "dissertations on justice, good government, beneficence, earthly and mystic love, humility, submissiveness, contentment and other excellences" (R. Levy). The Gulistan dealt with various subjects, from the manners of kings to the rules for conduct in life. On the cause for composing the book Sa'di wrote: "I may compose for the amusement of those who look and for the instruction of those who are present a book of a Rose Garden, a Gulistan, whose leaves cannot be touched by the tyranny of autumnal blasts and the delight of whose spring the vicissitudes of time will be unable to change into the inconstancy of autumn." Both books contained reflections on the behavior and teachings of dervishes, with whom Sa'di sympathized.
For further reading: Beiträge zur darstellung des persischen lebens nach Muslih-uddîn Sa`dî by Carl Phillip (1901); Essai sur le poète Saadi by H. Massé (1919); Eastern Poetry and Prose by R.A. Nicholson (1922); Persian Literature, an introduction by Reuben Levy (1923); What says Saadi by Ehsan Motaghed (1986); The poet Sa`di: a Persian Humanist by John D. Yohannan (1987); 'Johdanto: Sa'din elämä' by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, in Ruusutarha by Sa'di, trans. by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila (1991); A Literary History of Persia: From Firdawsi to Sa'Di by Edward Granville Browne (1997) - For further information: Sa'di - Medieval Sourcebook - The Gulistan of Sa'di - A Brief Note on the Life of Shaykh Muslih al-Din Sa'di Shirazi by Iraj Bashiri
  • The Goolistan of the Celebrated Musleh-ud-Deen of Shirauz, Surnamed Sheikh Sad¯i, 1807 (with an English translation embellished with notes, critical and explanatory by James Dumoulin)
  • The Gulistan, or Rose Garden, 1865 (trans. from the original by Francis Gladwin, with an essay on Saadi's life and genius, by James Ross, a preface by R. W. Emerson)
  • The Gulist¯an; or, Rose-garden, 1880 (trans. by Edward B. Eastwick)
  • With Sa'di in the Garden; or, The Book of Love, 1888 (by Sir Edwin Arnold)
  • The Gulist¯an; Being the Rose-Garden of Shaikh Sà'di, 1899 (tr. by Sir Edwin Arnold)
  • The Bustan of Sadi, 1911 (trans. from the Persian, with an introd. by A. Hart Edwards)
  • The gulistan, or, Rose garden, 1914 (trans. by Francis Gladwin; revised and corrected by Irani A. Khodaram)
  • Tayyib¯t, the odes of Sheikh Muslihu'd-D¯in Sad¯i Sh¯ir¯az¯i, 1924 (trans. by the late Sir Lucas White King, with an introduction by Reynold A. Nicholson)
  • Tales from the Gulistân, or Rose-garden of the Sheikh Sa'di of Shirâz, 1928 (trans. by Sir Richard Burton and illustrated by John Kettelwell)
  • Kings and Beggars, the Five Two Chapters of Sa`d¯i's Gulist¯an, 1945 (trans. by A. J. Arberry)
  • The Gulistan, or Rose Garden, of Sa`d¯i, 1964 (trans. by Edward Rehatsek, ed. with a pref. by W. G. Archer, introd. by G. M. Wickens)
  • Morals Pointed and Tales Adorned : the B¯ust¯an of Sa`d¯i, 1974 (trans. by G. M. Wickens)
  • The Gulistan of Shaikh Sa`di: A Complete Analysis of the Entire Persian Text, 1985 (trans. by R.P. Anderson)
  • The Rose Garden = Gulistan,1997 (trans. by Omar Ali-Shah)
  • Wisdom of Sa`di, 2001 (compiled and trans. by Mohammad Kazem Kamran)

Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207 - 1273)

The greatest mystical poet of Persia, famous for his didactic epic Masnavi-ye Ma'navi (Spiritual Couplets), a treasure-house of Sufi mysticism. The theme of Rumi's ghazals is sacred love. After Rumi's death his disciples were organized as the Mawlawiyah order, called in the West the "Whirling Dervishes".
This poetry. I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
Whewn I'm outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

(from 'Who says words with my mouth?', trans. by Coleman Barks)
Jalal al-Din Rumi, known to his disciples as Maulana Rumi, "Our Master, the Byzantine", was born in Balkh, Ghurid empire (now in Afghanistan). His father, Baha'uddin Walad, was a jurist and preacher. The family moved from place to place, perhaps because political reasons or because Baha'uddin Walad did not have success as a preacher. Also the times were violent. The Mongols had turned against the Islamic states. They destroyed Balkh in 1221, and eventually conquered Baghdad in 1258. According to some sources, Rumi was visiting Baghdad just before it was sacked by the Mongols. The family settled for some time in Aleppo and Damascus, where Rumi is said to have studied. He perhaps met the great mystic Ibn al-Arabi (d.1240) or his students. From Syria the family travelled to Laranda, where Rumi's mother, Mu'mine Khatun, died.
Rumi married at the age of eighteen. His first son, Sultan Walad, was born in Larada. After the death of his father in Konya in Anatolia, Rumi continued there as a teacher and theologian. Although Baha'uddin Walad had been known for his visionary powers, and he had written about spiritual love, at that time Rumi was not interested in the mystical tradition. Late in October 1244 (in some sources on November 30), Rumi met the wandering dervish called Shamsuddin of Tabriz (Shams ad-Din). Shams did not observe the Shariah, the Holy Law of Islam, and he believed that he is united with the Muhammadan Light. The encounter was the turning point in Rumi's life. Shams asked, "Who was greater, Mohammad the Prophet or the Persian mystic Bayezid Bistami?" Bistami could cry in ecstasy that he and the Godhead were one; Mohammad was the Messenger of God.
"You are either the light of God or God," Rumi wrote of Shams later in one poem. He neglected his teaching duties and family, and spent all his time with the dervish, whom he would compare to Jesus. The holy man left the town as mysteriously as he had appeared. "But suddenly God's jealousy appeared, / And whispering filled all the mouths around," explained Sultan Walad in his book Waladnama. The disappearance of Shams turned Rumi into a poet.
Shams returned again to Konya, but in 1248 he vanished completely. It was rumored that he was murdered with the connivance of Rumi' second son Ala'uddin (Alaeddin). Rumi searched his friend without results, describing it as the search of his own identity: "Indeed I sought my own self, that is sure, / Fermenting in the vat, just like the must." Rumi depicted himself as a man who was created from the wine of Love, but Love was also something that was beyond letters, it was eternal life, fire, tower of light, black lion, an ocean with invisible waves - love was limitless. "Pass beyond form, escape from names!" he wrote. "Flee titles and names toward meaning!" Rumi's poetry is full of images of Love.
Rumi's association with Shams has been compared to the friendship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but it also has psychological similarities with the relationship between Jesus of Nazareth and John the Baptist - or even with James Boswell's worship of Dr. Johnson. Rumi wrote some 30,000 verses about his love, longing, and loneliness. They were collected in Diwan-i Shams-i Tabriz (Divan of Shams of Tabriz), in which he appended Shams's name as the author. Rumi used often the traditional form of love lyric, the ghazal, which consists generally of five to twelve lines and employs one single rhyme through the poem.
After the death of Shams, Rumi met an illiterate goldsmith, Salahuddin Zarkub (Salah ad-Din Zarkub), and wrote some poems under Salahuddin's name. This was another scandal but in spite of the public reaction Rumi also married Sultan Walad to Salahuddin's daughter. After the death of his first wife, Rumi married Kira Khatum of Christian background; they had two children.
Salahuddin Zarkub died in 1258. Hasamuddin Chelebi (Husam ad-Din Chelebi), one of Rumi's students, became for him a new mirror of Love in the world, which is the mirror of God. "The wine is one; only the vessel's changed -" Rumi said in a poem. During the following years, he composed the nearly 26,000 couplets of the Masnavi-ye Ma'navi, but he did not mention Shams's name anymore. Rumi died in Konya on December 17, 1273. His cat died a week later and was buried close to his master. Rumi remained a major influence upon Sufism. His followers have sometimes claimed to have experienced his nearness.
It is believed that Rumi created his poems in a state of ecstasy, accompanying his verses by a whirling dance. After Shams's death Rumi had started in his grief to circle a pole in his garden, and speak the poetry, which was written down by scribes. However, listening to music and ecstatic prayer rituals were already before Rumi features of Sufism. In the 12th century dervishes emerged throughout the Islamic world. Dance was a rhythmic expression of dhikr, an Arabic word meaning 'remembrance'. The repetition of religious formulas, the dhkir, was based on Gur'an: "O believers, remember God often and give him glory at dawn and in the evening." In the simple reed flute Rumi saw the metaphor for himself: "Listen to the reed, how it tells a tale, complaining of separateness." The sama', the mystical dance, was for Rumi more than a technique for meditation, it was the cosmic truth, the manifestation of the secret power of God. The sun dances on the sky, the Eternal is the axis, and the entire universe is dancing and whirling around Him. "Whatever there is, is only He, / your foot steps there in dancing: / The whirling, see, belongs to you, / and you belong to the whirling."
For further reading: 'Jälkisanat' by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, in Mawlaana Rumi: Rakkaus on musta leijona, trans. by Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila (2002); Rumi by Franklin D. Lewis (2000); Rumi's World by Annemarie Schimmel (1992); Baha-i Walad: Grundzüge seines Lebens und seiner Mystik by Fritz Meier (1989); The Sufi Path of Love by W.C. Chittick (1983); The Triumphal Sun by Annemarie Schimmel (1978); The Whirling Dervishes by Ira Shems Friedlander (1975); The Life amd Work of Muhammad Jalal ud-Din Rumi by Afsal Iqbal (1974); Rumi: Poet and Mystic by Reynold Nicholson (1950); The Metaphysics of Rumi by Khalifa Abdul Hakim (1933); Waladnama by Sultan Walad (1315/1936) - Note: Masnavi is a longish narrative poem, which is suitable for epics dealing with mysticism, philosophy, and spiritual truths.
Selected works:
  • Selected Poems from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi of Jalaluddin Rumi, 1898 (trans. and ed. by R.A. Nicholson, repr. 1961)
  • Mathnawi-yi ma'nawi, 1925-1940 (8 vols., trans. by Reynold A. Nicholson)
  • Maktubat, 1937 (ed. by Faridun Nafiz Uzluk)
  • Diwan-i kabir, 1957-1976 (10 vols., ed. by Badi'uzzaman Furuzanfar)
  • Mystical Poems of Rumi: First Selection, 1968 (trans. by A.J. Arberry)
  • Fihi ma fihi, 1969 (ed. by Badi'uzzaman Furuzanfar)
  • Mystical Poems of Rumi: Second Selection, 1979 (trans. by A.J. Arberry)
  • The Essential Rumi, 1995 (trans. by Coleman Barks)
  • Signs of the Unseen, 1999 (trans. by W.M. Thackston)
  • The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems, 2001 (trans. by Coleman Barks et al.)

Muhammad Yamin (1903-1962)

Indonesian historian, poet, playwright, and politician, member of the leftist Murba Party. Yamin became President Sukarno's principal 'myth-maker'. He started his career as a writer in the 1920s, when Indonesian poetry was marked by an intense and largely reflective romanticism.
Di atas batasan Bukit Barisan
Memandang beta ke bawah memandang
Tampaklah hutan rimba dan ngarai
lagi pun sawah, telaga nan permai :
Serta gerangan lihatlah pula
Langit yang hijau bertukar warna
Oleh pucuk daun kelapa :
Itulah tanah airku
Sumatera namanya tumpah darahku.

(from 'Tanah Air')
Minangkabau Muhammad Yamin was one of the pioneers of modern poetry in Indonesia. He was born in Sawah Lunto in West-Sumatra. Yamin started to write in Malaya in the Dutch-language journal Jong Sumatra in 1920, but his early works were still tied to the clichés used in Classical Malay. Yamin debuted as a poet with Tanah Air ('fatherland') in 1922. It was the first collection of modern Malay verse to be published. However, the first important modern novel in Malay, Sitti Nurbaya by Minangkabau Marah Rusli, had appeared in 1922. Rusli's work enjoyed ten years of great popularity. The 'fatherland' to which the title of Yamin's book referred, was not Indonesia but Sumatra. In the title poem In it, Yamin stands on the hills of his native Minangkabau country, praising its natural beauty. Yamin's second collection, Tumpah Darahku, appeared on 28 October, 1928. The date was historically important - then Muhammad Yamin and his fellow nationalists resolved to revere a single - Indonesian - homeland, race and language. His play, Ken Arok dan Ken Dedes, which took its subject from Java's history, appeared also 1928. From the late 1920s until 1933 Roestam Effendi, Sanusi Pané with his poems (Madah Kelana, 1931) and plays (Kertadjaja, 1932; Sandhyakala ning Majapahit, 1933), and Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana were the principal shapers of the Malay language and its literature.
Yamin studied law in Jakarta, graduating in 1932. He worked in Jakarta until 1942 specializing in international law. Yamin's political career started early and he was a active in nationalist movements. In 1928 the Second Congress of Indonesian Youth proclaimed Malay, since known as Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), the language of the Indonesian nationalist movement. Yamin made an initiative through the organization Indonesia Muda, that Bahasa Indonesia is made as the foundation of a national language. Today it is the republic's official language and the principal vehicle for innovative literary expression. Also attempts at writing modern literature have been made in most of Indonesian major regional languages.
During the Japanese occupation (1942-1945) Yamin worked for the Japanese-sponsored confederation of nationalist organizations, the Center of People's Power (Putera). In 1945 Yamin suggested to BPUPKI, a committee preparing Indonesian's independence process, that the new nation should include Sarawak, Sabah, Malaya, and Portuguese Timor, as well as all the territories of the Netherlands Indies. Achmad Sukarno (1901-1970), who was a member of BPUPKI, supported Yamin. Sukarno became in 1945 the first President of Indonesian republic. Under Sukarno's long period of power - he was he was stripped of office in 1967 - Indonesia became a leader of the Third World, and developed close ties with China and the U.S.S.R. During and after the struggle for independence Yamin held important posts in the governmental administration. Yamin died in Jakarta on October 17, 1962.
Yamin's first works appeared in the 1920s. He made much use of the sonnet form, borrowed from Dutch literature. At that time among the major writers were national activist Abdoel Moeis (1898-1959), whose central theme was the interaction of Indonesian and European value system. In 1936 appeared Pandji Tisna's (1908-1978) Sukreni, gadis Bali, possibly the most original work of pre-independence fiction, which dealt with the destructive effect of contemporary commercial ethics on Balinese society. Distinctly innovative poetry began to appear in the 1910s. The European sonnet form was especially popular, but the influence of traditional verse forms remained strong. Although Yamin experimented with the language in his poetry, he uphold the classical norms of Malay more than the younger generation of writers, who gradually improved on the new poertry. Yamin also published plays, essays, historical novels and poems, and translated works from such authors as Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) and Tagore.
Indonesian literature from the 1920s to the 1960s: The earliest Indonesian novels were published in the 1920s. Pudjangga Baru (The New Writer) literary school, which was established in 1933, influenced greatly the development of literature. Its founder and first editors were Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, and Arminjn Pané, brother of Sanusi Pané. Pudnjagga Baru advocated the idea that traditional literary forms had to be replaced by moderrn means of expression. Another movement, 45 Group, reflected the ideas of the independence struggle. Among its members was the poet Chairil Anwar, who died at the age of 27, but released the poetry from the bonds of traditional forms and literary language. Other important writers: Sanuse Pané, Idrus, Surwarsih Djojopuspito, Achdiat Karta Mihardja, Toha Mohtar, Mochtar Lubis (imprisoned by the Sukarno regime for four years), Pramoedye Ananta Toer. The first Indonesian dramatist to gain wide recognition was Utuy Tatang Sontani (1820-1979). Poetry in Javanese since independence has been dominated by St. Iesmaniasita and by Muryalelana (b. 1932), preindependence fiction in Sundanese was almost synonymous with the name of Mohamad Ambri (1892-1936). The finest Chinese-Indonesian novelist was Liem King-hoo. The most substantial work of fiction in Dutch by an Indonesian author was the novel Buiten het gareel (1940) by Suwarsih Djojopuspito. - For further reading: Modern Indonesian Literature by A. Teeuw (1979); The Emergence of the Novel in Modern Indonesian and Malaysian Literature by Ali A. Wahab (1991); 'Southeast Asian Novel: Indonesia' in Encyclopedia of the Novel, Vol 2., ed. by Paul Schellinger (1998) - For further information: Tanah Air -
Selected works:
  • TANAH AIR, 1922
  • GAJA MADA, 1948

Jean-Paul Sartre 1947 - The Historical Process

“Existentialism is unaware of the historical process.”
(Pravda January 23, 1947)
I have expected an attack of this kind for some time. In my review, Les Temps Modernes, I had posed a few questions to Communist intellectuals and they weren’t able to answer. What is more, M. Ilya Ehrenburg, upon his return from America, severely criticized my books, and I had forced him to admit that he hadn’t read them, which he did with good grace and without being the least bit flustered. It was obviously necessary that an encyclical be issued to make things clear. It goes without saying that M. Zaslavski had no more read existentialist works than did M. Ehrenburg. Be he speaks of them from even higher and farther away. I am embarrassed to answer him: we answer someone, but M. Zaslavski is no one. Provisionally he is the editorialist of Pravda, and it is the “historical process” ( to use his words) that expresses itself though his mouth. Tomorrow, perhaps, the historical process will turn away from him and he’ll be a number in Siberia and everyone will have forgotten him. He will never have been a person; I regret this for his sake and mine. It remains for me then to address the “historical process” and to express my regrets to it that it chose so bad an interpreter. It could doubtless not find any others. The historical process always has reasons. But it would have been desirable that M. Zaslavski, who haughtily declares that “existentialism is the negation of all of philosophy,” prove, at least in his article, that he was himself a philosopher. Alas, in this hateful and stupid mass there is not a single sensible word. I will limit myself to pointing out the following errors:
  1. If M. Zaslavski were a philosopher and if he had read the books he speaks about he wouldn’t have treated as a “fatalism” a philosophy whose sole dogma is the affirmation of human freedom, and which never ceases repeating that man’s destiny is in his own hands. The Marxists have often enough protested and cried out because the historical dialectic is assimilated to fatalism. It is regrettable that M. Zaslavski, the chosen one of the “historical process,” has fallen into the same error concerning existentialism. By his pen words so change their meaning that he calls me a fatalist because I don’t believe that the communist revolution is fated.
  2. M. Zaslavski reproaches existentialism its “total absence of spirituality.” But if he knew the ABC’s of Marxism he would know that a materialist makes himself ridiculous by reproaching his adversaries for their lack of spirituality. There is, in fact, spirituality when we appeal to the spirit, a substance distinct from matter. But materialism recognizes only one principle, that of matter, and it is in principle hostile to any recourse to the spirit. It would never have occurred to me to consider Messrs. Thorez and Duclos spiritualists. I will henceforth strive to do so. If, though, M. Zaslavski had at least opened Being and Nothingness he would have seen there that each individual’s consciousness is irreducible to matter. But perhaps he knows this and he deplores our lack of spiritualism precisely because we aren’t materialists.
  3. I have written as often as possible that a socialist revolution was humanity’s sole hope. This is doubtless why M. Zaslavski declares that I am backed by the Two Hundred Families. I very much displeased a good number of Americans in writing a piece on the conditions of blacks in the United States; that is doubtless why he says I’m an agent of American propaganda. It is true that I lived for a longer time than M. Ehrenburg in the United States, and that I don’t share his foolish prejudices against that great country. But must one conclude that I want to make mine a “colony of American imperialism?” Is it absolutely necessary to insult America to preserve the good graces of the “historical process” and M. Zaslavski? One of my collaborators on Les Temps Modernes wrote that the “whole world is, in fact , the historical heritage of the United States.” M. Zaslavski concludes from this that we wish for US hegemony over the entire world. If he knew how to or wanted to read the whole article, he would have interpreted the sentence differently. My collaborator meant, in fact, that if there was to be an American culture the Americans had to take in and assimilate the historical traditions of all continents. In any event, what M. Zaslavski understood doesn’t count. The only thing that counts is what the “historical process” dictates to him. As for the wealthy American bourgeoisie who, it seems, “greeted in me the enemy of Marxism,” I can assure the editorialist of Pravda that it could care less about me and doesn’t even know my name. The talks I gave in America took place before intellectuals and students, and they dealt with French literature under the Occupation.
  4. M. Zaslavski accuses me of “denying any morality.” I recall the expression of Lenin: “I call moral any man who contributes to the communist revolution, and immoral any man who attempts to prevent it.” If M. Zaslavski understands the words moral and immoral in this sense, then it is true that I am not moral. I don’t belong to the Communist Party. But I believe in the existence of an autonomous morality. I believe that we have precise obligations, among them that, whatever the demands of the “historical process,” we speak the truth. And so, in the same way that M. Zaslavski accuses me of being a fatalist because I believe in freedom, and of lacking in spirituality because I am not a materialist, he accuses me of immorality because I am not a partisan of Machiavellianism and realism in politics. Pravda’s ex cathedra condemnation comes at the very moment that the Church placed my books on the Index. This is not by chance; I will be excused if I see in this simultaneous dual condemnation nothing but a precious encouragement. When we seek to have men confront their freedom it is natural that we find before us those who have an interest in hiding it from them.

Jean-Paul Sartre 1946 - The Time of the Assassins

This war will be the war of fear. It is in fear that it is being prepared. People are allowing it to come on slowly, with a kind of ecstasy. They believe in it like they believe in chiromancy, like a confessor, like everything that releases them from forging their own destiny. They love their fear; it reconciles them with themselves, it suspends the faculties of the soul in the same way as sneezing and diarrhoea. And that threat that weighs on their heads conceals from them the empty heavens: it’s a roof. And in the meanwhile, the terrorized governments observe each other. When in a panic a nation will make too abrupt a gesture, the others will leap at its throat.
Then the abstract massacre will begin. Once we risked our lives against that of others; we saw the enemy dead up close, we could touch their wounds; from further away we fire without any risks, we’ll die for nothing. Technicians in Washington, in Texas, will prepare the mass graves of Baku and Leningrad without seeing them. Without even imagining them. No heroes, no martyrs: a cataclysm falling on panicked beasts.
I don’t believe in the end of the world, and I don’t even know if I believe in this war. Twenty years, perhaps fifty years will pass before it occurs. But if throughout this time we continue to expect it, if for fifty years we have to marinate in fear, if we convince ourselves that in order to live we have to await the end of the next conflict, we will then have rendered the atom bomb three quarters useless. There will no longer be any men to kill; it will already have been done.

Critique of Dialectical Reason. Jean-Paul Sartre. 1960

Critique of Critical Investigation

1 The Basis of Critical Investigation

We know the abstract conditions which this investigation must satisfy if it is to be possible. But these conditions leave its individual reality undetermined. In the same way, in the sciences of Nature we can have a general idea of the aim of an experiment (experience) and the conditions for it to be valid, without knowing what physical fact is to be investigated, what instruments it will employ, or what experimental system it will identify and construct. In other words, a scientific hypothesis includes its own experimental requirements; it indicates, in broad outline, the conditions that the proof must satisfy; but this initial schema can be distinguished only formally from the conjecture which is to be tested. This is why the hypothesis has sometimes been called an experimental idea. It is historical circumstances (the history of the instruments, the contemporary state of knowledge) which give the projected experiment its peculiar physiognomy: thus Faraday, Foucault and Maxwell, for example, constructed such and such a system in order to get such and such a result. But our concern is with the problem of a totalising investigation, and this clearly means that it bears only an extremely distant resemblance to the experiments of the exact sciences. Nevertheless, it too must present itself in its technical particularity, detail the instruments of thought it employs, outline the concrete system it will constitute (that is to say, the structural reality which will be exteriorised in its experimental practice). This is what we shall now specify. [These moments are in fact for the most part inseparable. But it is appropriate that methodological reflection should at least register an example of the stubbornness of reason.] By what particular experimentation can we expect to expose and demonstrate the reality, of the dialectical process? What instruments do we need? What is their point of application? What experimental system must we construct? On the basis of what facts? What type of extrapolation will it justify? What will be the validity of its proofs?

2 Dialectical Reason as Intelligibility

In order to answer these questions we must have some guide-line; and is provided purely by what the object demands. We must turn, therefore, to this basic demand. But if this demand is reduced to the simple question, ‘Are there ontological regions where the law of being correlatively, that of knowledge can be said to be dialectical?’, there is a serious risk of making it unintelligible and of relapsing either into some form of hyper-empiricism or into the opacity and contingency of the laws formulated by Engels. If we were to discover these regions in the same way as natural regions (for example, an area of the together with its climate, hydrography, orography, flora and fauna, etc.) are discovered, then the discovery would share the opacity of something merely found. If, on the other hand, we were to ground our dialectical categories on the impossibility of experience without them, as Kant did for positivist Reason, then we would indeed attain but we would have contaminated it with the opacity of facts. Indeed, to say, ‘If there is to be any such thing as experience, the human mind must be able to unify, sensuous diversity through svnthetic judgements’, is, ultimately, to base the whole critical edifice on the unintelligible judgement (a judgement of fact), ‘But experience does occur.’ And we shall see later that dialectical Reason is itself the intelligibility of positivist Reason; and this is precisely why positivist Reason presents itself’ at first as the unintelligible law of empirical intelligibility. [I am thinking here of the Critique of Pure Reason rather than of Kant’s later works. It has been clearly demonstrated that, in the very last part of Kant’s life, the requirement of intelligibility led him right up to the threshold of dialectical Reason.]
If, however, dialectical Reason has to be grasped initially through human relations, then its fundamental characteristics imply that it appears as apodictic experience in its very intelligibility. It is not a matter of simply asserting its existence, but rather of directly experiencing its existence through its intelligibility, independent of any empirical discovery. In other words, if the dialectic is the reason of being and of knowledge, at least in certain regions, it must manifest itself as double intelligibility. Firstly, the dialectic as the law of the world and of knowledge must itself be intelligible; so that, unlike positivist Reason, it must include its own intelligibility within itself. Secondly, if some real fact — a historical process, for example — develops dialectically, the law of its appearing and its becoming must be — from the stand-point of knowledge — the pure ground of its intelligibility. For the present, we are concerned only with original intelligibility. This intelligibility — the translucidity of the dialectic cannot arise if one merely proclaims dialectical laws, like Engels and Naville, unless each of these laws is presented as a mere sketch, revealing the dialectic as a totality. The rules of positivist Reason appear as separate instructions (unless this Reason is envisaged as a limiting case of dialectical Reason and from its point of view). Each of the so-called ‘laws’ of dialectical Reason is the whole of the dialectic: otherwise the dialectic would cease to be a dialectical process, and thought, as the praxis of the theoretician, would necessarily be discontinuous. Thus the basic intelligibility of dialectical Reason, if it exists, is that of a totalisation. In other words, in terms of our distinction between being and knowledge, a dialectic exists if, in at least one ontological region, a totalisation is in progress which is immediately accessible to a thought which unceasingly totalises itself in its very comprehension of the totalisation from which it emanates and which makes itself its object.
It has often been observed that the laws stated by Hegel and his disciples do not at first seem intelligible; taken in isolation, they may even seem false or gratuitous. Hyppolite has shown convincingly that the negation of the negation — if this schema is envisaged in itself — is not necessarily an affirmation. Similarly, at first glance, the opposition between contradictories does not seem to be necessarily the motive force of the dialectical process. Hamelin, for example, based his whole system on the opposition between contraries. Or, to give another example, it is difficult to see how a new reality, transcending contradictions while preserving them within itself, can be both irreducible to them and intelligible in terms of them. But, these difficulties arise only because the dialectical ‘principles’ are conceived either as mere data or as induced laws; in short, because they are seen from the point of view of positivist Reason in the same way as positivist Reason conceives its own ‘categories’. Each of these so called dialectical laws becomes perfectly intelligible when seen from the point of view of totalisation. It is therefore necessary for the critical investigation to ask the fundamental question: is there a region of being where totalisation is the very form of existence?

3 Totality and Totalisation

From this point of view, and before taking the discussion any further, we must make a clear distinction between the notions of totality and totalisation. A totality is defined as a being which, while radically distinct from the sum of its parts, is present in its entirety, in one form or another, in each of these parts, and which relates to itself either through its relation to one or more of its parts or through its relation to the relations between all or some of them. If this reality is created (a painting or a symphony are examples, if one takes integration to an extreme), it can exist only in the imaginary (l'imaginaire), that is to say, as the correlative of an act of imagination. The ontological status to which it lays claim by its very definition is that of the in-itself, the inert. The synthetic unity which produced its appearance of totality is not an activity, but only the vestige of a past action (just as the unity of a medallion is the passive remnant of its being struck). Through its being-in-exteriority, the inertia of the in-itself gnaws away at this appearance of unity; the passive totality is, in fact, eroded by infinite divisibility. Thus, as the active power of holding together its parts, the totality is only the correlative of an act of imagination: the symphony or the painting, as I have shown elsewhere, are imaginaries projected through the set of dried paints or the linking of sounds which function as their analogon. In the case of practical objects — machines, tools, consumer goods, etc. — our present action makes them seem like totalities by resuscitating, in some way, the praxis which attempted to totalise their inertia. We shall see below that these inert totalities are of crucial importance and that they create the kind of relation between men which we will refer to, later, as the practico-inert. These human objects are worthy of attention in the human world, for it is there that they attain their practico-inert statute; that is to say, they lie heavy on our destiny because of the contradiction which opposes praxis (the labour which made them and the labour which utilises them) and inertia, within them. But, as these remarks show, they are products; and the totality despite what one might think, is only a regulative principle of the totalisation (and all at once disintegrates into the inert ensemble of its provisional creations).
If, indeed, anything is to appear as the synthetic unity of the diverse, it must be a developing unification, that is to say, an activity. The synthetic unification of a habitat is not merely the labour which has produced it, but also the activity of inhabiting it; reduced to itself, it reverts to the multiplicity of inertia. Thus totalisation has the same statute as the totality, for, through the multiplicities, it continues that synthetic labour which makes each part an expression of the whole and which relates the whole to itself through the mediation of its parts. But it is a developing activity, which cannot cease without the multiplicity reverting to its original statute. This act delineates a practical field which, as the un differentiated correlative of praxis, is the formal unity of the ensembles which are to be integrated; within this practical field, the activity attempts the most rigorous synthesis of the most differentiated multiplicity. Thus, by a double movement, multiplicity is multiplied to infinity, each part is set against all the others and against the whole which is in the process of being formed, while the totalising activity tightens all the bonds, making each differentiated element both its immediate expression and its mediation in relation to the other elements. On this basis, it is easy to establish the intelligibility of dialectical Reason; it is the very movement of totalisation. Thus, to take only one example, it is within the framework of totalisation that the negation of the negation becomes an affirmation. Within the practical field, the correlative of praxis, every determination is a negation’, for praxis, in differentiating certain ensembles, excludes them from the group formed by all the others; and the developing unification appears simultaneously in the most differentiated products (indicating the direction of the movement), in those which are less differentiated (indicating continuities, resistances, traditions, a tighter, but more superficial, unity), and in the conflict between the two (which expresses the present state of the developing totalisation). The new negation, which, in determining the less differentiated ensembles, will raise them to the level of the others, is bound to eliminate the negation which set the ensembles in antagonism to each other. Thus it is only within a developing unification (which has already defined the limits of its field) that a determination can be said to be a negation and that the negation of a negation is necessarily an affirmation. If dialectical Reason exists, then, from the ontological point of view, it can only be a developing totalisation, occurring where the totalisation occurs, and, from the epistemological point of view, it can only be the accessibility of that totalisation to a knowledge which is itself, in principle, totalising in its procedures. But since totalising knowledge cannot be thought of as attaining ontological totalisation as a new totalisation of it, dialectical knowledge must itself be a moment of the totalisation, or, in other words, totalisation must include within itself its own reflexive retotalisation as an essential structure and as a totalising process within the process as a whole.

4 Critical Investigation and Totalisation

Thus the dialectic is a totalising activity. Its only laws are the rules produced by the developing totalisation, and these are obviously concerned with the relation between unification and the unified.
[A few examples: the whole is entirely present in the part as its present meaning and as its destiny. In this case, it is opposed to itself as the part is opposed to the whole in its determination (negation of the whole) and, since the parts are opposed to one another (each part is both the negation of the others and the whole, determining itself in its totalising activity and conferring upon the partial structures the determinations required by the total movement), each part is, as such, mediated by the whole in its relations with the other parts: within a totalisation, the multiplicities (as bonds of absolute exteriority — i.e., quantities) do not eliminate, but rather interiorise, one another. For exarnple, the fact of being a hundred (as we shall see when we discuss groups) becomes for each of the hundred a synthetic relation of interiority, with the other ninety-nine; his individual reality is affected by the numerical characteristics of being-the-hundredth. Thus quantity can become quality (as Engels said, following Hegel) only within a whole which reinteriorises even relations of exteriority. In this way the Whole (as a totalising act) becomes the relation among the parts. In other words, totalisation is a mediation between the parts (considered in their determinations) as a relation of interiority: within and through a totalisation, each part is mediated by all in its relation to each, and each is a mediation between all; negation (as determination) becomes a synthetic bond linking each part to every other, to all, and to the whole. But, at the same time, the linked system of mutually conditioning parts is opposed to the whole as an act of absolute unification, to precisely the extent that this system in movement does not and cannot exist except as the actual embodiment and present reality (here and now) of the whole as a developing synthesis. Similarly, the synthetic relations that two (or n + 1) parts maintain between themselves, precisely because they are the effective embodiment of the whole, oppose them to every other part, to all the other parts as a linked system and, consequently, to the whole in its triple reality as a developing synthesis, as an effective presence in every part, and as a surface organisation. Here we are only giving a few abstract examples; but they are sufficient to illustrate the meaning of the bonds of interiority within a developing totalisation. Obviously these oppositions are not static (as they might be if, as might happen, the totalisation were to result in totality); rather they perpetually transform the interior field to the extent that they translate the developing act into its practical efficacity. It is no less clear that what I call a ‘whole’ is not a totality, but the unity of the totalising act in so far as it diversifies itself and embodies itself in totalised diversities.]
That is to say, the modes of effective presence of the totalising process in the totalised parts. And knowledge, itself totalising, is the totalisation itself in so far as it is present in particular partial structures of a definite kind. In other words, totalisation cannot be consciously present to itself if it remains a formal, faceless activity of synthetic unification, but can be so only through the mediation of differentiated realities which it unifies and which effectively embody it to the extent that they totalise themselves by the very movement of the activity of totalising. These remarks enable us to define the first feature of the critical investigation: it takes place inside the totalisation and can be neither a contemplative recognition of the totalising movement, nor a particular, autonomous totalisation of the known totalisation. Rather, it is a real moment of the developing totalisation in so far as this is embodied in all its parts and is realised as synthetic knowledge of itself through the mediation of certain of these parts. In practice, this means that the critical investigation can and must be anyone’s reflexive experience.

Literature: Anton Chekhov

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Realism is the movement toward representing reality as it is, in art. Realistic drama is an attempt to portray life on stage, a movement away from the conventional melodramas and sentimental comedies of the 1700s. It is expressed in theatre through the use of symbolism, character development, stage setting and storyline and is exemplified in plays such as Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. The arrival of realism was indeed good for theatre as it promoted greater audience involvement and raised awareness of contemporary social and moral issues. It also provided and continues to provide a medium through which playwrights can express their views about societal values, attitudes and morals. A Doll's House is the tragedy of a Norwegian housewife who is compelled to challenge law, society and her husband's value system. It can be clearly recognized as a realistic problem drama, for it is a case where the individual is in opposition to a hostile society. Ibsen's sympathy with the feminine cause has been praised and criticized; as he requires the audience to judge the words and actions of the characters in order to reassess the values of society. The characters in A Doll's House are quite complex and contradictory, no longer stereotypes. In Act II, Nora expresses her repulsion about a fancy dress worn to please Torvald (her husband): "I wish I'd torn it to pieces"; she attempts to restore it and resign herself to her situation right after: "I'll ask Mrs Linde to help". In Act III, Torvald ignores his wife's plea for forgiveness in order to make a moral judgement: "You've killed my happiness.You've destroyed my future".
"I can never trust you again." Later on in the same act, he contradicts himself: "I'll change. I can change-"; much after Nora confronts him: "Sit here, Torvald. We have to come to terms". "...There's a lot to say". Here, Ibsen shows us he has worked in depth with the psychology of the characters, giving them a sense of complexity and realism. Playgoers therefore recognize the revelation of characters through memory. Thus drama became an experience closely impinging on the conscience of the audience. Ibsen was also unique for his use of symbolism to assist realism on stage. Symbolic significance is presented through the detail of design, props and actions of the characters. For example, in Act III, Nora goes offstage to
get changed; "I'm changing. No more fancy dress". It is a symbolic
representation of her personal change, one where she has come to the realization that she has been living the life of a doll, confined to the roles of a "featherbrain", "plaything", "dove", "skylark" and "songbird". Thus, symbolism enhanced realism, and its effect can be seen as positive in the sense that it stirred conscious awareness of values. The stage settings of A Doll's House are an integral part of the theatrical design, and not mere décor to be overlooked. The setting in Act II; "...the Christmas tree stands stripped of its decorations and with its candles burnt to stumps" is symbolic of the lack of happiness in Nora's life at that moment. Also the change of setting in Act III; "The tables and chairs have been moved centre" foreshadows a character change that will take place in Nora. The many references to doors also have significance beyond the stage directions. The play begins with the opening of the door and finishes with the "slamming" of the door. Nora enters the doll's house with the values of society and departs from it, symbolizing her rejection of them. All these intricacies of play settings and characters depict realism on stage.
Ultimately, it has been good for theatre because it presents the playwright's ideas in interesting and original ways. Realism, as expressed through  symbolism, also draws the attention of the audience, thus stimulating moral thought, and stirring reaction. Realism is also defined as art-imitating life (source).  This is a fitting account of Anton Chekhov's plays, for they tend to show the stagnant, helpless quality of Russian society in the late C19th. Quite evident in The Three Sisters, when Tuzenbakh illustrates realism; "The suffering  we see around us these days - and there's plenty of it - is at least a sign that society has reached a certain moral level." Hence, while the portrayal of life here seemed 'gloomy and pessimestic', it was still good for theatre in that it presented issues which audiences could identify with. It was also more intellectual theatre when the playwright could express their views, compared with the conventional dramas that merely played out fiction. Chekhov tends to portray people who are perpetually unsatisfied, such as Olga; "I felt my youth and energy draining away, drop by drop each day. Only one thing grows stronger and stronger, a certain longing." (Act 1). This is reflective of Chekhov's realistic character work, where people dream to improve their lives, but most fail. Realism here effectively presents harsh realities onstage, and not having to promote idealistic ways of life. Reality is difficult as Olga expresses; "What is all this for? Why all this suffering? The answer will be known one day, and then there will be no mysteries left, but till then, life must go on, we must work and work and think of nothing else." (Act IV).
Chekhov also exposes human foibles and anti-social tendencies, such as with the character Natasha; "you have so many people here. I feel awfully
nervous...I am just not used to meeting new people." Thus, audiences can sympathize and identify with characters, as these traits are reflective of certain aspects of the human condition. So realism in theatre has been good in the respect that it has greater impact when there are elements of truth in the play. In the final analysis, the arrival of realism has been good for theatre
primarily because it promoted greater audience involvement. While the   portrayal of realistic issues may have been contentious in some cases, such as in A  Doll's House, it nevertheless stirred reaction, which encouraged moral thought.
However, one could argue that its arrival has lead to less use of the
imagination. In either case, realism has raised awareness of social and moral
issues and the playwright's views serve to challenge the audience ultimately
making theatre more interactive and interesting.

Franz Kafka (1883 - 1924) The Vulture

A vulture was hacking at my feet. It had already torn my boots and stockings to shreds, now it was hacking at the feet themselves. Again and again it struck at them, then circled several times restlessly round me, then returned to continue its work. A gentleman passed by, looked on for a while, then asked me why I suffered the vulture. "I'm helpless," I said. "When it came and began to attack me, I of course tried to drive it away, even to strangle it, but these animals are very strong, it was about to spring at my face, but I preferred to sacrifice my feet. Now they are almost torn to bits." "Fancy letting yourself be tortured like this!" said the gentleman. "One shot and that's the end of the vulture." "Really ?" I said. "And would you do that?" "With pleasure," said the gentleman, "I've only got to go home and get my gun. Could you wait another half hour?" "I'm not sure about that," said I, and stood for a moment rigid with pain. Then I said: "Do try it in any case, please." "Very well," said the gentleman, "I'll be as quick as I can." During this conversation the vulture had been calmly listening, letting its eye rove between me and the gentleman. Now I realized that it had understood everything; it took wing, leaned far back to gain impetus, and then, like a javelin thrower, thrust its beak through my mouth, deep into me. Falling back, I was relieved to feel him drowning irretrievably in my blood, which was filling every depth, flooding every shore.

Franz Kafka (1883 - 1926) The Metamorphose - Part Three

THE SERIOUS INJURY done to Gregor, which disabled him for more than a month-the apple went on sticking in his body as a visible reminder, since no one ventured to remove it-seemed to have made even his father recollect that Gregor was a member of the family, despite his present unfortunate and repulsive shape, and ought not to be treated as an enemy, that, on the contrary, family duty required the suppression of disgust and the exercise of patience, nothing but patience.
And although his injury had impaired, probably for ever, his powers of movement, and for the time being it took him long, long minutes to creep across his room like an old invalid-there was no question now of crawling up the wall-yet in his own opinion he was sufficiently compensated for this worsening of his condition by the fact that towards evening the living-room door, which he used to watch intently for an hour or two beforehand, was always thrown open, so that lying in the darkness of his room, invisible to the family, he could see them all at the lamp-lit table and listen to their talk, by general consent as it were, very different from his earlier eavesdropping.
True, their intercourse lacked the lively character of former times, which he had always called to mind with a certain wistfulness in the small hotel bedrooms where he had been wont to throw himself down, tired out, on damp bedding. They were now mostly very silent. Soon after supper his father would fall asleep in his armchair; his mother and sister would admonish each other to be silent; his mother, bending low over the lamp, stitched at fine sewing for an underwear firm; his sister, who had taken a job as a salesgirl, was learning shorthand and French in the evenings on the chance of bettering herself. Sometimes his father woke up, and as if quite unaware that he had been sleeping said to his mother: "What a lot of sewing you're doing today!" and at once fell asleep again, while the two women exchanged a tired smile.
With a kind of mulishness his father persisted in keeping his uniform on even in the house; his dressing gown hung uselessly on its peg and he slept fully dressed where he sat, as if he were ready for service at any moment and even here only at the beck and call of his superior. As a result, his uniform, which was not brand-new to start with, began to look dirty, despite all the loving care of the mother and sister to keep it clean, and Gregor often spent whole evenings gazing at the many greasy spots on the garment, gleaming with gold buttons always in a high state of polish, in which the old man sat sleeping in extreme discomfort and yet quite peacefully.
As soon as the clock struck ten his mother tried to rouse his father with gentle words and to persuade him after that to get into bed, for sitting there he could not have a proper sleep and that was what he needed most, since he had to go on duty at six. But with the mulishness that had obsessed him since he became a bank messenger he always insisted on staying longer at the table, although he regularly fell asleep again and in the end only with the greatest trouble could be got out of his armchair and into his bed. However insistently Gregor's mother and sister kept urging him with gentle reminders, he would go on slowly shaking his head for a quarter of an hour, keeping his eyes shut, and refuse to get to his feet. The mother plucked at his sleeve, whispering endearments in his ear, the sister left her lessons to come to her mother's help, but Gregor's father was not to be caught. He would only sink down deeper in his chair. Not until the two women hoisted him up by the armpits did he open his eyes and look at them both, one after the other, usually with the remark: "This is a life. This is the peace and quiet of my old age." And leaning on the two of them he would heave himself up, with difficulty, as if he were a great burden to himself, suffer them to lead him as far as the door and then wave them off and go on alone, while the mother abandoned her needlework and the sister her pen in order to run after him and help him farther.
Who could find time, in this overworked and tired out family, to bother about Gregor more than was absolutely needful? The household was reduced more and more; the servant girl was turned off; a gigantic bony charwoman with white hair flying round her head came in morning and evening to do the rough work; everything else was done by Gregor's mother, as well as great piles of sewing. Even various family ornaments, which his mother and sister used to wear with pride at parties and celebrations, had to be sold, as Gregor discovered of an evening from hearing them all discuss the prices obtained. But what they lamented most was the fact that they could not leave the flat which was much too big for their present circumstances, because they could not think of any way to shift Gregor. Yet Gregor saw well enough that consideration for him was not the main difficulty preventing the removal, for they could have easily shifted him in some suitable box with a few air holes in it; what really kept them from moving into another flat was rather their own complete hopelessness and the belief that they had been singled out for a misfortune such as had never happened to any of their relations or acquaintances. They fulfilled to the uttermost all that the world demands of poor people, the father fetched breakfast for the small clerks in the bank, the mother devoted her energy to making underwear for strangers, the sister trotted to and fro behind the counter at the behest of customers, but more than this they had not the strength to do. And the wound in Gregor's back began to nag at him afresh when his mother and sister, after getting his father into bed, came back again, left their work lying, drew close to each other and sat cheek by cheek; when his mother, pointing towards his room, said: "Shut that door now, Grete," and he was left again in darkness, while next door the women mingled their tears or perhaps sat dry-eyed staring at the table.
Gregor hardly slept at all by night or by day. He was often haunted by the idea that next time the door opened he would take the family's affairs in hand again just as he used to do; once more, after this long interval, there appeared in his thoughts the figures of the chief and the chief clerk, the commercial travelers and the apprentices, the porter who was so dull-witted, two or three friends in other firms, a chambermaid in one of the rural hotels, a sweet and fleeting memory, a cashier in a milliner's shop, whom he had wooed earnestly but too slowly-they all appeared, together with strangers or people he had quite forgotten, but instead of helping him and his family they were one and all unapproachable and he was glad when they vanished. At other times he would not be in the mood to bother about his family, he was only filled with rage at the way they were neglecting him, and although he had no clear idea of what he might care to eat he would make plans for getting into the larder to take the food that was after all his due, even if he were not hungry. His sister no longer took thought to bring him what might especially please him, but in the morning and at noon before she went to business hurriedly pushed into his room with her foot any food that was available, and in the evening cleared it out again with one sweep of the broom, heedless of whether it had been merely tasted, or-as most frequently happened-left untouched. The cleaning of his room, which she now did always in the evenings, could not have been more hastily done. Streaks of dirt stretched along the walls, here and there lay balls of dust and filth. At first Gregor used to station himself in some particularly filthy corner when his sister arrived, in order to reproach her with it, so to speak. But he could have sat there for weeks without getting her to make any improvement; she could see the dirt as well as he did, but she had simply made up her mind to leave it alone. And yet, with a touchiness that was new to her, which seemed anyhow to have infected the whole family, she jealously guarded her claim to be the sole caretaker of Gregor's room. His mother once subjected his room to a thorough cleaning, which was achieved only by means of several buckets of water-all this dampness of course upset Gregor too and he lay widespread, sulky and motionless on the sofa-but she was well punished for it. Hardly had his sister noticed the changed aspect of his room that evening than she rushed in high dudgeon into the living room and, despite the imploringly raised hands of her mother, burst into a storm of weeping, while her parents-her father had of course been startled out of his chair-looked on at first in helpless amazement; then they too began to go into action; the father reproached the mother on his right for not having left the cleaning of Gregor's room to his sister; shrieked at the sister on his left that never again was she to be allowed to clean Gregor's room; while the mother tried to pull the father into his bedroom, since he was beyond himself with agitation; the sister, shaken with sobs, then beat upon the table with her small fists; and Gregor hissed loudly with rage because not one of them thought of shutting the door to spare him such a spectacle and so much noise.
Still, even if the sister, exhausted by her daily work, had grown tired of looking after Gregor as she did formerly, there was no need for his mother's intervention or for Gregor's being neglected at all. The charwoman was there. This old widow, whose strong bony frame had enabled her to survive the worst a long life could offer, by no means recoiled from Gregor. Without being in the least curious she had once by chance opened the door of his room and at the sight of Gregor, who, taken by surprise, began to rush to and fro although no one was chasing him, merely stood there with her arms folded. From that time she never failed to open his door a little for a moment, morning and evening, to have a look at him. At first she even used to call him to her, with words which apparently she took to be friendly, such as: "Come along, then, you old dung beetle!" or "Look at the old dung beetle, then!" To such allocutions Gregor made no answer, but stayed motionless where he was, as if the door had never been opened. Instead of being allowed to disturb him so senselessly whenever the whim took her, she should rather have been ordered to clean out his room daily, that charwoman! Once, early in the morning-heavy rain was lashing on the windowpanes, perhaps a sign that spring was on the way-Gregor was so exasperated when she began addressing him again that he ran at her, as if to attack her, although slowly and feebly enough. But the charwoman instead of showing fright merely lifted high a chair that happened to be beside the door, and as she stood there with her mouth wide open it was clear that she meant to shut it only when she brought the chair down on Gregor's back. "So you're not coming any nearer?" she asked, as Gregor turned away again, and quietly put the chair back into the corner.
Gregor was now eating hardly anything. Only when he happened to pass the food laid out for him did he take a bit of something in his mouth as a pastime, kept it there for an hour at a time and usually spat it out again. At first he thought it was chagrin over the state of his room that prevented him from eating, yet he soon got used to the various changes in his room. It had become a habit in the family to push into his room things there was no room for elsewhere, and there were plenty of these now, since one of the rooms had been let to three lodgers. These serious gentlemen-all three of them with full beards, as Gregor once observed through a crack in the door-had a passion for order, not only in their own room but, since they were now members of the household, in all its arrangements, especially in the kitchen. Superfluous, not to say dirty, objects they could not bear. Besides, they had brought with them most of the furnishings they needed. For this reason many things could be dispensed with that it was no use trying to sell but that should not be thrown away either. All of them found their way into Gregor's room. The ash can likewise and the kitchen garbage can. Anything that was not needed for the moment was simply flung into Gregor's room by the charwoman, who did everything in a hurry; fortunately Gregor usually saw only the object, whatever it was, and the hand that held it. Perhaps she intended to take the things away again as time and opportunity offered, or to collect them until she could throw them all out in a heap, but in fact they just lay wherever she happened to throw them, except when Gregor pushed his way through the junk heap and shifted it somewhat, at first out of necessity, because he kind not room enough to crawl, but later with increasing enjoy meet, although after such excursions, being sad and weary to death, he would lie motionless for hours. And since the lodgers often ate their supper at home in the common living room, the living-room door stayed shut many an evening, yet Gregor reconciled himself quite easily to the shutting of the door, for often enough on evenings when it was opened he had disregarded it entirely and lain in the darkest corner of his room, quite unnoticed by the family. But on one occasion the charwoman left the door open a little and it stayed ajar even when the lodgers came in for supper and the lamp was lit They set themselves at the top end of the table where formerly Gregor and his father and mother had eaten their meals, unfolded their napkins and took knife and fork in hand. At once his mother appeared in the other doorway with a dish of meat and close behind her his sister with a dish of potatoes piled high. The food steamed with a thick vapor. The lodgers bent over the food set before them as if to scrutinize it before eating, in fact the man in the middle, who seemed to pass for an authority with the other two, cut a piece of meat as it lay on the dish, obviously to discover if it were tender or should be sent back to the kitchen. He showed satisfaction, and Gregor's mother and sister, who had been watching anxiously, breathed freely and began to smile.
The family itself took its meals in the kitchen. None the less, Gregor's father came into the living room before going into the kitchen and with one prolonged bow, cap in hand, made a round of the table. The lodgers all stood up and murmured something in their beards. When they were alone again they ate their food in almost complete silence. It seemed remarkable to Gregor that among the various noises coming from the table he could always distinguish the sound of their masticating teeth, as if this were a sign to Gregor that one needed teeth in order to eat, and that with toothless jaws even of the finest make one could do nothing. "I'm hungry enough," said Gregor sadly to himself, "but not for that kind of food. How these lodgers are stuffing themselves, and here am I dying of starvation!"
On that very evening-during the whole of his time there Gregor could not remember ever having heard the violin-the sound of violin-playing came from the kitchen. The lodgers had already finished their supper, the one in the middle had brought out a newspaper and given the other two a page apiece, and now they were leaning back at ease reading and smoking. When the violin began to play they pricked up their ears, got to their feet, and went on tiptoe to the hall door where they stood huddled together. Their movements must have been heard in the kitchen, for Gregor's father called out: "Is the violin-playing disturbing you, gentlemen? It can be stopped at once." "On the contrary," said the middle lodger, "could not Fraulein Samsa come and play in this room, beside us, where it is much more convenient and comfortable?" "Oh certainly," cried Gregor's father, as if he were the violin-player. The lodgers came back into the living room and waited. Presently Gregor's father arrived with the music stand, his mother carrying the music and his sister with the violin. His sister quietly made everything ready to start playing; his parents, who had never let rooms before and so had an exaggerated idea of the courtesy due to lodgers, did not venture to sit down on their own chairs; his father leaned against the door, the right hand thrust between two buttons of his livery coat, which was formally buttoned up; but his mother was offered a chair by one of the lodgers and, since she left the chair just where he had happened to put it, sat down in a corner to one side.
Gregor's sister began to play; the father and mother, from either side, intently watched the movements of her hands. Gregor, attracted by the playing, ventured to move forward a little until his head was actually inside the living room. He felt hardly any surprise at his growing lack of consideration for the others; there had been a time when he prided himself on being considerate. And yet just on this occasion he had more reason than ever to hide himself, since owing to the amount of dust which lay thick in his room and rose into the air at the slightest movement, he too was covered with dust; fluff and hair and remnants of food trailed with him, caught on his back and along his sides; his indifference to everything was much too great for him to turn on his back and scrape himself clean on the carpet, as once he had done several times a day. And in spite of his condition, no shame deterred him from advancing a little over the spotless floor of the living room.
To be sure, no one was aware of him. The family was entirely absorbed in the violin-playing; the lodgers, however, who first of all had stationed themselves, hands in pockets, much too close behind the music stand so that they could all have read the music, which must have bothered his sister, had soon retreated to the window, half-whispering with downbent heads, and stayed there while his father turned an anxious eye on them. Indeed, they were making it more than obvious that they had been disappointed in their expectation of hearing good or enjoyable violin-playing, that they had had more than enough of the performance and only out of courtesy suffered a continued disturbance of their peace. From the way they all kept blowing the smoke of their cigars high in the air through nose and mouth one could divine their irritation. And yet Gregor's sister was playing so beautifully. Her face leaned sideways, intently and sadly her eyes followed the notes of music. Gregor crawled a little farther forward and lowered his head to the ground so that it might be possible for his eyes to meet hers. Was he an animal, that music had such an effect upon him? He felt as if the way were opening before him to the unknown nourishment he craved. He was determined to push forward till he reached his sister, to pull at her skirt and so let her know that she was to come into his room with her violin, for no one here appreciated her playing as he would appreciate it. He would never let her out of his room, at least, not so long as he lived; his frightful appearance would become, for the first time, useful to him; he would watch all the doors of his room at once and spit at intruders; but his sister should need no constraint, she should stay with him of her own free will; she should sit beside him on the sofa, bend down her ear to him and hear him confide that he had had the firm intention of sending her to the Conservatorium, and that, but for his mishap, last Christmas-surely Christmas was long past?-he would have announced it to everybody without allowing a single objection. After this confession his sister would be so touched that she would burst into tears, and Gregor would then raise himself to her shoulder and kiss her on the neck, which, now that she went to business, she kept free of any ribbon or collar.
"Mr. Samsa!" cried the middle lodger, to Gregor's father, and pointed, without wasting any more words, at Gregor, now working himself slowly forwards. The violin fell silent, the middle lodger first smiled to his friends with a shake of the head and then looked at Gregor again. Instead of driving Gregor out, his father seemed to think it more needful to begin by soothing down the lodgers, although they were not at all agitated and apparently found Gregor more entertaining than the violin-playing. He hurried towards them and, spreading out his arms, tried to urge them back into their own room and at the same time to block their view of Gregor. They now began to be really a little angry, one could not tell whether because of the old man's behavior or because it had just dawned on them that all unwittingly they had such a neighbor as Gregor next door. They demanded explanations of his father, they waved their arms like him, tugged uneasily at their beards, and only with reluctance backed towards their room. Meanwhile Gregor's sister, who stood there as if lost when her playing was so abruptly broken off, came to life again, pulled herself together all at once after standing for a while holding violin and bow in nervelessly hanging hands and staring at her music, pushed her violin into the lap of her mother, who was still sitting in her chair fighting asthmatically for breath, and ran into the lodgers' room to which they were now being shepherded by her father rather more quickly than before. One could see the pillows and blankets on the beds flying under her accustomed fingers and being laid in order. Before the lodgers had actually reached their room she had finished making the beds and slipped out.
The old man seemed once more to be so possessed by his mulish self-assertiveness that he was forgetting all, the respect he should show to his lodgers. He kept driving them on and driving them on until in the very door of the bedroom the middle lodger stamped his foot loudly on the floor and so brought him to a halt. "I beg to announce," said the lodger, lifting one hand and looking also at Gregor's mother and sister, "that because of the disgusting conditions prevailing in this household and family"-here he spat on the floor with emphatic brevity-"I give you notice on the spot. Naturally I won't pay you a penny for the days I have lived here, on the contrary I shall consider bringing an action for damages against you, based on claims-believe me-that will be easily susceptible of proof." He ceased and stared straight in front of him, as if he expected something. In fact his two friends at once rushed into the breach with these words: "And we too give notice on the spot." On that he seized the door-handle and shut the door with a slam.
Gregor's father, groping with his hands, staggered forward and fell into his chair; it looked as if he were stretching himself there for his ordinary evening nap, but the marked jerkings of his head, which was as if uncontrollable, showed that he was far from asleep. Gregor had simply stayed quietly all the time on the spot where the lodgers had espied him. Disappointment at the failure of his plan, perhaps also the weakness arising from extreme hunger, made it impossible for him to move. He feared, with a fair degree of certainty, that at any moment the general tension would discharge itself in a combined attack upon him, and he lay waiting. He did not react even to the noise made by the violin as it fell off his mother's lap from under her trembling fingers and gave out a resonant note.
"My dear parents," said his sister, slapping her hand on the table by way of introduction, "things can't go on like this. Perhaps you don't realize that, but I do. I won't utter my brother's name in the presence of this creature, and so all I say is: we must try to get rid of it. We've tried to look after it and to put up with it as far as is humanly possible, and I don't think anyone could reproach us in the slightest."
"She is more than right," said Gregor's father to himself. His mother, who was still choking for lack of breath, began to cough hollowly into her hand with a wild look in her eyes.
His sister rushed over to her and held her forehead. His father's thoughts seemed to have lost their vagueness at Grete's words, he sat more upright, fingering his service cap that lay among the plates still lying on the table from the lodgers' supper, and from time to time looked at the still form of Gregor.
"We must try to get rid of it," his sister now said explicitly to her father, since her mother was coughing too much to hear a word, "it will be the death of both of you, I can see that coming. When one has to work as hard as we do, all of us, one can't stand this continual torment at home on top of it. At least I can't stand it any longer." And she burst into such a passion of sobbing that her tears dropped on her mother's face, where she wiped them off mechanically.
"My dear," said the old man sympathetically, and with evident understanding, "but what can we do?"
Gregor's sister merely shrugged her shoulders to indicate the feeling of helplessness that had now overmastered her during her weeping fit, in contrast to her former confidence.
"If he could understand us," said her father, half questioningly; Grete, still sobbing, vehemently waved a hand to show how unthinkable that was.
"If he could understand us," repeated the old man, shutting his eyes to consider his daughter's conviction that understanding was impossible, "then perhaps we might come to some agreement with him. But as it is-"
"He must go," cried Gregor's sister, "that's the only solution, Father. You must just try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor. The fact that we've believed it for so long is the root of all our trouble. But how can it be Gregor? If this were Gregor, he would have realized long ago that human beings can't live with such a creature, and he'd have gone away on his own accord. Then we wouldn't have any brother, but we'd be able to go on living and keep his memory in honor. As it is, this creature persecutes us, drives away our lodgers, obviously wants the whole apartment to himself and would have us all sleep in the gutter. Just look, Father," she shrieked all at once, "he's at it again!" And in an access of panic that was quite incomprehensible to Gregor she even quitted her mother, literally thrusting the chair from her as if she would rather sacrifice her mother than stay so near to Gregor, and rushed behind her father, who also rose up, being simply upset by her agitation, and half-spread his arms out as if to protect her.
Yet Gregor had not the slightest intention of frightening anyone, far less his sister. He had only begun to turn round in order to crawl back to his room, but it was certainly a startling operation to watch, since because of his disabled condition he could not execute the difficult turning movements except by lifting his head and then bracing it against the floor over and over again. He paused and looked round. His good intentions seemed to have been recognized; the alarm had only been momentary. Now they were all watching him in melancholy silence. His mother lay in her chair, her legs stiffly outstretched and pressed together, her eyes almost closing for sheer weariness; his father and his sister were sitting beside each other, his sister's arm around the old man's neck.
Perhaps I can go on turning round now, thought Gregor, and began his labors again. He could not stop himself from panting with the effort, and had to pause now and then to take breath. Nor did anyone harass him, he was left entirely to himself. When he had completed the turn-round he began at once to crawl straight back. He was amazed at the distance separating him from his room and could not understand how in his weak state he had managed to accomplish the same journey so recently, almost without remarking it. Intent on crawling as fast as possible, he barely noticed that not a single word, not an ejaculation from his family, interfered with his progress. Only when he was already in the doorway did he turn his head round, not completely, for his neck muscles were getting stiff, but enough to see that nothing had changed behind him except that his sister had risen to her feet. His last glance fell on his mother, who was not quite overcome by sleep.
Hardly was he well inside his room when the door was hastily pushed shut, bolted and locked. The sudden noise in his rear startled him so much that his little legs gave beneath him. It was his sister who had shown such haste. She had been standing ready waiting and had made a light spring forward, Gregor had not even heard her coming, and she cried "At last!" to her parents as she turned the key in the lock.
"And what now?" said Gregor to himself, looking round in the darkness. Soon he made the discovery that he was now unable to stir a limb. This did not surprise him, rather it seemed unnatural that he should ever actually have been able to move on these feeble little legs. Otherwise he felt relatively comfortable. True, his whole body was aching, but it seemed that the pain was gradually growing less and would finally pass away. The rotting apple in his back and the inflamed area around it, all covered with soft dust, already hardly troubled him. He thought of his family with tenderness and love. The decision that he must disappear was one that he held to even more strongly than his sister, if that were possible. In this state of vacant and peaceful meditation he remained until the tower clock struck three in the morning. The first broadening of light in the world outside the window entered his consciousness once more. Then his head sank to the floor of its own accord and from his nostrils came the last faint flicker of his breath.
When the charwoman arrived early in the morning- what between her strength and her impatience she slammed all the doors so loudly, never mind how often she had been begged not to do so, that no one in the whole apartment could enjoy any quiet sleep after her arrival-she noticed nothing unusual as she took her customary peep into Gregor's room. She thought he was lying motionless on purpose, pretending to be in the sulks; she credited him with every kind of intelligence. Since she happened to have the long-handled broom in her hand she tried to tickle him up with it from the doorway. When that too produced no reaction she felt provoked and poked at him a little harder, and only when she had pushed him along the floor without meeting any resistance was her attention aroused. It did not take her long to establish the truth of the matter, and her eyes widened, she let out a whistle, yet did not waste much time over it but tore open the door of the Samsas' bedroom and yelled into the darkness at the top of her voice: "Just look at this, it's dead; it's lying here dead and done for!"
Mr. and Mrs. Samsa started up in their double bed and before they realized the nature of the charwoman's announcement had some difficulty in overcoming the shock of it. But then they got out of bed quickly, one on either side, Mr. Samsa throwing a blanket over his shoulders, Mrs. Samsa in nothing but her nightgown; in this array they entered Gregor's room. Meanwhile the door of the living room opened, too, where Grete had been sleeping since the advent of the lodgers; she was completely dressed as if she had not been to bed, which seemed to be confirmed also by the paleness of her face. "Dead? " said Mrs. Samsa, looking questioningly at the charwoman, although she could have investigated for herself, and the fact was obvious enough without investigation. "I should say so," said the charwoman, proving her words by pushing Gregor's corpse a long way to one side with her broomstick. Mrs. Samsa made a movement as if to stop her, but checked it. "Well," said Mr. Samsa, "now thanks be to God." He crossed himself, and the three women followed his example. Grete, whose eyes never left the corpse, said: "lust see how thin he was. It's such a long time since he's eaten anything. The food came out again just as it went in." Indeed, Gregor's body was completely flat and dry, as could only now be seen when it was no longer supported by the legs and nothing prevented one from looking closely at it.
"Come in beside us, Grete, for a little while," said Mrs. Samsa with a tremulous smile, and Grete, not without looking back at the corpse, followed her parents into their bedroom. The charwoman shut the door and opened the window wide. Although it was so early in the morning a certain softness was perceptible in the fresh air. After all, it was already the end of March.
The three lodgers emerged from their room and were surprised to see no breakfast; they had been forgotten. "Where's our breakfast?" said the middle lodger peevishly to the charwoman. But she put her finger to her lips and hastily, without a word, indicated by gestures that they should go into Gregor's room. They did so and stood, their hands in the pockets of their somewhat shabby coats, around Gregor's corpse in the room where it was now fully light.
At that the door of the Samsas' bedroom opened and Mr. Samsa appeared in his uniform, his wife on one arm, his daughter on the other. They all looked a little as if they had been crying; from time to time Grete hid her face on her father's arm.
"Leave my house at once!" said Mr. Samsa, and pointed to the door without disengaging himself from the women. "What do you mean by that?" said the middle lodger, taken somewhat aback, with a feeble smile. The two others put their hands behind them and kept rubbing them together, as if in gleeful expectation of a fine set-to in which they were bound to come off the winners. "I mean just what I say," answered Mr. Samsa, and advanced in a straight line with his two companions towards the lodger. He stood his ground at first quietly, looking at the floor as if his thoughts were taking a new pattern in his head. "Then let us go, by all means," he said, and looked up at Mr. Samsa as if in a sudden access of humility he were expecting some renewed sanction for this decision. Mr. Samsa merely nodded briefly once or twice with meaning eyes. Upon that the lodger really did go with long strides into the hall, his two friends had been listening and had quite stopped rubbing their hands for some moments and now went scuttling after him as if afraid that Mr. Samsa might get into the hall before them and cut them off from their leader. In the hall they all three took their hats from the rack, their sticks from the umbrella stand, bowed in silence and quitted the apartment. With a suspiciousness which proved quite unfounded Mr. Samsa and the two women followed them out to the landing; leaning over the banister they watched the three figures slowly but surely going down the long stairs, vanishing from sight at a certain turn of the staircase on every floor and coming into view again after a moment or so; the more they dwindled, the more the Samsa family's interest in them dwindled, and when a butcher's boy met them and passed them on the stairs coming up proudly with a tray on his head, Mr. Samsa and the two women soon left the landing and as if a burden had been lifted from them went back into their apartment.
They decided to spend this day in resting and going for a stroll; they had not only deserved such a respite from work, but absolutely needed it. And so they sat down at the table and wrote three notes of excuse, Mr. Samsa to his board of management, Mrs. Samas to her employer and Grete to the head of her firm. While they were writing, the charwoman came in to say that she was going now, since her morning's work was finished. At first they only nodded without looking up, but as she kept hovering there they eyed her irritably. "Well?" said Mr. Samsa The charwoman stood grinning in the doorway as if she had good news to impart to the family but meant not to say a word unless properly questioned. The small ostrich feather standing upright on her hat, which had annoyed Mr. Samsa ever since she was engaged, was waving gaily in all directions. "Well, what is it then?" asked Mrs. Samsa, who obtained more respect from the charwoman than the others. "Oh," said the charwoman, giggling so amiably that she could not at once continue, "just this, you don't need to bother about how to get rid of the thing next door. It's been seen to already." Mrs. Samsa and Grete bent over their letters again, as if preoccupied; Mr. Samsa, who perceived that she was eager to begin describing it all in detail, stopped her with a decisive hand. But since she was not allowed to tell her story, she remembered the great hurry she was in, being obviously deeply huffed: "Bye, everybody," she said, whirling off violently, and departed with a frightful slamming of doors.
"She'll be given notice tonight," said Mr. Samsa, but neither from his wife nor his daughter did he get any answer, for the charwoman seemed to have shattered again the composure they had barely achieved. They rose, went to the window and stayed there, clasping each other tight. Mr. Samsa turned in his chair to look at them and quietly observed them for a little. Then he called out: "Come along, now, do. Let bygones be bygones. And you might have some consideration for me." The two of them complied at once, hastened to him, caressed him and quickly finished their letters.
Then they all three left the apartment together, which was more than they had done for months, and went by tram into the open country outside the town. The tram, in which they were the only passengers, was filled with warm sunshine. Leaning comfortably back in their seats they canvassed their prospects for the future, and it appeared on closer inspection that these were not at all bad, for the jobs they had got, which so far they had never really discussed with each other, were all three admirable and likely to lead to better things later on. The greatest immediate improvement in their condition would of course arise from moving to another house; they wanted to take a smaller and cheaper but also better situated and more easily run apartment than the one they had, which Gregor had selected. While they were thus conversing, it struck both Mr. and Mrs. Samsa, almost at the same moment, as they became aware of their daughter's increasing vivacity, that in spite of all the sorrow of recent times, which had made her cheeks pale, she had bloomed into a pretty girl with a good figure. They grew quieter and half unconsciously exchanged glances of complete agreement, having come to the conclusion that it would soon be time to find a good husband for her. And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams and excellent intentions that at the end of their journey their daughter sprang to her feet first and stretched her young body.

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