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Before the Law

← Robert Frost “Mending Walls”“Disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee →

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The story demonstrates the disconnect that exists between public and authorities opinions. The statements given by authorities of this jurisdiction misrepresent their performance. Their falsifications in effect give people false hopes that one day justice will be accorded to them. The people then deplete their resources as they persist as they seek justice in expectation that soon, their efforts would pay off. In essence, this is a place where the privileged exercise authority in an arbitrary manner. Deception has been institutionalized in spite of the pain and suffering that people goes through. For example, the doorkeeper continually accepts bribes, and this act impoverishes the man yet he does not allow him in.

The main character has an enduring disposition. He travels for a long distance in search of the law, and in spite of the difficulties, he awaits his turn. He waits uncomplainingly and accords the doorkeeper his due respect. He does not question the delay until he has grown so weary to wait any longer. He is also sincere because his wish is to follow the established channels in search of justice. Nevertheless, he contentiously utilizes all available options instead of sitting idly during his extended period of waiting. Although bribery is generally regarded as immoral, in this scenario, the man does not have an alternative. Surprisingly, the man is not agitated when he learns he has no chance of gaining entry. He calmly accepts his fate.

The man has limited chances of success. Through his discussions with the door keeper, he recognizes that trying to force his way in would lead to severe punishment, probably through incarceration or execution. This has made him opt to wait. He establishes a friendly relationship with the door keeper who explicates to him the difficulties that he faces in his attempts of seeking the law. He is eventually informed that the door had no utility; it was just a guise of possibility.

The man learns that the authorities are detached from the ordinary people. They are emotionally uninvolved to a level of becoming effusive. He discovers that deception and lip service have been institutionalized to reduce pressure on the administration. Moreover, the man establishes that, despite being unaffectionate, the administration does not hesitate to extort the people’s savings. Once a person is no longer useful, he/she is neglected as focus turn on exploiting others.

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