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The Struggle For Acceptance Essay

1036 words - 5 pages

One of the most common, and debatably most effective, methods of discipline in jail is solitary confinement because it creates a detachment from other inmates that has the potential to drive the person into a delusional state of mind. The unnamed Protagonist from Rawi Hage's novel Cockroach lives in constant seclusion as a result of his psychotic outlook on life. After a suicide attempt, he is sentenced to consult a psychologist to assess whether he should be admitted into a mental institution. As he converses with the therapist, he unravels his shocking back-story of living in Lebanon during the civil war. He left Lebanon and now resides in an apartment in the dark and gloomy city of Montreal with only the cockroaches in his apartment’s kitchen. As a consequence of the incidents from Lebanon he starts to perceive himself as a cockroach and uses that perception to aid him in living underneath the world It is clear that the Protagonist grows as his own isolation begins to engulf him. This is evident through the character's evolving image of himself, his enraging anger and the harassment from his friends and society.
Isolation is torturous for a human being for it can lead to depression, anxiety, and, in severe cases, even insanity. The Protagonist is so secluded that he conjures a mental image of himself as a cockroach escaping down the drains into the sewer so he can get away from everything. His image of himself as a cockroach is constructed because of his belief in the end of the world caused by an apocalypse that will leave only the cockroaches to survive resulting in him finally being accepted. He hallucinates a cockroach saying, " The world ended for you a long time ago. You never participated in it. Look at you, always escaping, slipping, and feeling trapped in everything you do." (Hage 201). The protagonist comes home to find a human size cockroach standing in his living room. The cockroach mocks him about his seclusion from society and insults him about his behaviour around other people. In reality the cockroach is a figment of his imagination and a reflection of his own feelings and perceptions about himself. The Protagonist envisions himself as a cockroach because of their ability to escape the world and submerge themselves in the safety of the sewers, safety and escapism which the protagonist always desired. As a consequence of his delusions and his self-imposed isolation, he feels even more detached from people because of their inability to comprehend and relate to his state of mind. The Protagonist’s seclusion culminates in the creation of another persona of himself.
Often times seclusion from society tends to have adverse effects, it can affect one to a point in which strong emotions, like anger, are controlled by the depth of solitude and produce bitterness. Every day the Protagonist walks down the street by a café where he sees people happily drinking coffee and socializing, which makes him despise them. He is very angry...

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