A report to an academy

Until then I had had so many ways out of everything, and now I had none. I was pinned down. Had I been nailed down, my right to free movement would not have been lessened. Why so? Scratch your flesh raw between your toes, but you won’t find the answer. Press yourself against the bar behind you till it nearly cuts you in two, you won’t find the answer. I had no way out but I had to devise one, for without it I could not live. All the time facing that locker — I should certainly have perished. Yet as far as Hagenbeck was concerned, the place for apes was in front of a locker — well then, I had to stop being an ape. A fine, clear train of thought, which I must have constructed somehow with my belly, since apes think with their bellies.

– Kafka, ‘A Report to an Academy’ (trans. W. and E. Muir)

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