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The negativity in change

People usually do not react well in change. It is something that the body and mind has to adapt to before it becomes easier for the person to accept. In many people’s eyes, they believe that changes are tough to acclimatize in. In some cases, people even have to resort to altering their entire life styles in order to accommodate with the differences introduced to their lives. In Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Cathy Song’s “Magic Island”, Christina Brinkley, June Kronholz, and Clare Ansberry’s “Hour of Horror Forever Alters American Lives”,” the characters go through a variety of pessimistic reactions to the changes that they go through. When people have to go through changes, they do not have an optimistic view of how the situation would end up.

In The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, Gregor Samsa does not accept his change from a human to a vermin immediately. Although Gregor’s reaction seems to imply that he does not care, the change is not something that he enjoys as he hopes that it is temporary and tries to “[forget] all this nonsense” (3). Gregor tries to brush off the dilemma as a dream and does not want to believe that his sudden alteration was real. He realizes that that the transformation actually happened when he begins to “feel a slight, dull pain in his side” (3). As time passes by, Gregor is increasingly uncomfortable with his new body. He dislikes having his sister, Grete, waste away her childhood to take care of him and his needs. Gregor is frustrated by the fact that he is unable to easily communicate with his parents and his younger sister. Gregor is frustrated by the fact that he is unable to easily communicate with his parents and younger sister as he wishes that he is not “able to speak for his sister and thank her for everything she had to do for him […] [because her help] caused him pain” (29). Not being able to speak normally causes him pain because he is incapable of expressing his feelings as he could before he turned into a bug. Gregor did not enjoy being in his insect form due to the amount of troubles that he has to go through in order survive. Having to adjust to a new environment quickly would be difficult for many to accomplish.

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The article, “Hour of Horror” by Kronholz, Brinkley and Ansberry provides us with numerous examples of how people would react in a situation that could affect everyone’s lives. When the change takes place, people start to feel fearful or distressed with something new in their lives. With that, they would avoid situations that might lead to the same occurrence. Many start to believe that “in a country long proud and even boastful of its openness- a country where an ordinary citizen can stroll through the U.S. Capitol unescorted- the terrorist attacks are likely to force Americans to watch their steps and look over their shoulders.” After the terrorist attack, Americans were feelings scared of what would have happened if the history of the Twin Tower attack repeated itself. The fear causes the citizens to realize that they need to have increased security, which further leads them to add metal detectors and temporarily close down places with large gatherings of people to avoid any possible issues. When people are under a lot of stress and fear due to the sudden and large change, they might start to act rashly and violently. People would retaliate, for it can be one of their first reactions, but “retaliation carries the risk of setting off a tightening spiral of violence and counter violence” (Kronholz, Brinkley, Ansberry). Humans have a natural instinct to protect themselves and their loved ones against any sources of danger. However, after the attacks on the Twin Towers, many innocent lives were in danger of the public, who mistook them to be a part of those that initiated the attack. Violence is never the way to go in situations, especially when one is in an irrational and emotional state.

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Change is not always a terrible part of life. There are both positive and negative outcomes. However, when someone goes through more detrimental experiences than sanguine, it is easy to feel like something harmful is going to happen. In “Magic Sister” by Cathy Song, a family that immigrated into a new country. The setting seems comfortable, happy and calm, but they feel the opposite despite the optimistic environment. They feel as if there was a “black umbrella” that always lingered around them, reminding them that they are immigrants (46). The black umbrella symbolizes the fears and suspicions that constantly loom above their heads. The family is troubled by the shift in their surroundings and detect that they are the outcasts in this current society. They try their best to get used to their recent changes and fit into their current surroundings, but are working hard to achieve their goals. The parents feel “suspicious of all the sunshine” and are “expecting rain” (49-50). Since they recently immigrated into this new country, they feel as if they will experience another obstacle. For many immigrants, having to adjust to a new environment causes doubt, uncertainty and fear of the possible negative future that more negative events are going to appear while they stay in the country they moved to.

When people experience a new change in life, many hold unhappy emotions towards them. Those that may have these emotions feel fear, sadness, or uneasiness. People feel these emotions of unhappiness because they may feel as if it is something that is out of their control or they might know how the situation is going to end up. When people are not sure about the future, it can sometimes put them in a position that is out of their comfort zone. It is common that one feels hesitant when they think of change because making adjustments in a schedule that they have gotten used to evolve into something else. For those that might be more comfortable with change, it is due to their acceptance towards it and knowing that change could be for the better. Whether it is the negativity of feeling like a burden, as shown by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, having to live with an uncertain future through the aftermath of 9/11, or embodying the apprehension when entering a new country, this pessimism when it comes to change emanates throughout society. People should be willing to embrace change, even if it appears terrible at first. As bad as change may seem at first, there is a possibility that it might end up positively.

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