Oedipus the King

Oedipus the King

When our group decided on The Local’s article, which focuses on
629px-Bénigne_Gagneraux,_The_Blind_Oedipus_Commending_his_Children_to_the_Godsthe growing and immense numbers of people in Germany who are in need of this organizations help line. After reading the article I chose to write on Oedipus the King because the similarities between the emotions and issues of the characters in the play, are very similar to what many of these callers of the help line are experiencing. To highlight and emphasize on these similarities we will focus solely on the main character of the play Oedipus and how it relates to the article.

Trust Issues:

Many of Oedipus’s problems root from being alienated from the truth about being adopted at such a young age, which created major trust issues. The result of this lack of trust in others forced Oedipus to conceal various dark secrets that he held from even his closest loved ones. He never felt comfortable enough to tell his parents about the prophecies he had been told about how he would one day kill his father, marry his mother and have sex with her. This inability to talk to the ones close to him lead to confusion that troubled him so much that he lashed out one day killing five people, one of them being King Laius. This decision was the first of many poor ones that would eventually result in him being so disgusted with his life that he stabbed his eyes out so that he would never have to see the horror of the world.

Telephone Pastors:

Many people who call into this hotline are experiencing similar feelings as Oedipus. Children and adults who use this calling centre are suffering from, feelings of loneliness without anyone to talk to about their problems. Because of this many of them are very distressed and angry about the life that they have been given. These are serious emotions that if untreated can lead to sever depression where people may begin to conflict pain on themselves (much like Oedipus) or consume harmful substances. Within the article there’s a quote from one of the Telephone Pastors that says “For the most part we hear about relationship problems inside the family or with a partner, and also about loneliness. But people also call to tell us about psychological or physical problems they are suffering from” these three main topics also happen to be of huge relevance in Oedipus the King. (The Local, 2015)

A Different Perspective:

Like countless people on the help line there is no one in their life that helps them see a positive in a bad situation, a silver lining to support making them feel important or proud of themselves. Many who analyze the play do the same to Oedipus, though his life was riddled with a series of unfortunate events that were made worse through his inability to face the truth; there is an angle, which many overlook. That’s a Oedipus’s sign in strength of character. Oedipus shows a lot of growth that most don’t see (like suicidal people aren’t taken seriously with their issues or feel worthless). When everything had unravelled and it became clear that all the prophecies had become true, Oedipus confronts his mistakes and sticks to his promise to the city of Thebes by punishing and banishing the killer of the past king Laius, himself.

By: Bridger Strong


Emusic. (2007, 11 14). Oedipus the King. Retrieved 04 06, 2016, from http://www.emusic.com/book/sophocles/oedipus-the-king/10000483/

Sophocles. (1912). Oedipus the King (Loeb Library ed.). (F. Storr, Trans.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The Local. (2015, 12 28). ‘Kids as young as ten are considering suicide’. Retrieved 04 06, 2016, from The Local de: http://www.thelocal.de/20151228/helping-germans-overcome-crisis-for-60-years

The Conference of the Birds

There are many ways the Conference of the Birds poem read in class relates to our article about a suicide hotline based in Germany. The poem is all about finding a new king because the birds of the world do not have a leader. The consensus of the birds is to find the legendary Simorgh, who is a famous Persian bird similar to the phoenix. They all feel like they need to find this heroic bird to fulfill this void of leadership in their lives.

Picture1This relates to the article of the individuals who have a sense of feeling lost and loneliness after losing a loved one. They have lost someone who is dear to their heart due to death or divorce. By phoning the hotline there is a feeling of support that these individuals are looking for after losing someone dear to them.


The birds of the world are feeling alienated by themselves because of the fact they do not have a leader. They feel that they need a King to lead them through their lives. Little do they know of what they are all capable of doing themselves.

Picture2Once again conveys a similar message with the individuals phoning the hotline. More so for the older people phoning because they are putting these feeling on themselves. Feeling alienated and isolated from the world they are used to living in after losing a loved one. They need guidance through the hotline to help them through this tough time.



The Hoopoe Birds leads the 30 birds on the trek to find the Simorgh. Through this journey, they travel through several different obstacles that test all their emotions. Each obstacle is building them up and strengthening them as individuals. Hoopoe bird constantly reassuring the birds that the end is worth it and to keep fighting through each obstacle.


Picture3This would be most beneficial for the younger individuals phoning the hotline about being bullied. They are seeking help from this hotline because they feel they can not talk about their issues with people who know them personally. There are many different reasons why they can not share this issue with them, but ultimately feel most comfortable talking to a stranger. This part of the story represents the advisor on the other side of the suicide hotline. Hoopoe is this individual that is helping the grieving with these problems. Constantly reassuring them about their lives and about their potential in life.


At the end of the bird’s long journey, through the many obstacles, they are finally rewarded with the sight of the Simorgh. Little to their realization that there is no king, but a lake. When they look into the lake they see a reflection of themselves. This shows the birds that they do not need a king to lead them through the hardships of life. These 30 birds that concurred all the different obstacles to reach the Simorgh proved to themselves that they can fight for each other and depend on one another.



This conclusion to the story would be the example of all the times this suicide hotline has helped an individual with there problems. For them to see that their lives are worth living and ultimately not hurt themselves is the way the Simorgh helped the birds. Being able to see that you can still live your life without a loved one; or be strong enough to stand up to a bully. The hotlines can be a tremendous help for someone who needs someone to listen.

By: JJ Beitel (201596177)

Attar, F. u.-D. (1889). Bird Parliament. William Aldis Wright.

Damani. (2016). Blogspot. Retrieved 8 April, 2016, from http://rehandamani.blogspot.ca/2009/06/conference-of-birds-simurgh-portrayed.html

The Local. (2015, 12 28). ‘Kids as young as ten are considering suicide’. Retrieved 04,06, 2016, from The Local de: http://www.thelocal.de/20151228/helping-germans-overcome-crisis-for-60-years


The Myth of Sisyphus

As a group, my team decided to go with the article “kids as young as ten are considering suicide”. We found this article to be a good representation of all the texts and one we could relate to each of them while tying in the class theme of alienation. Suicidal thoughts are a common mindset and as shown in this article can start in young boys and girls at the ages of 10. When individuals feel there is no reason left for them to be in this world the common go to “fix” is, unfortunately, suicide. Both Camus in his essay on The Myth of Sisyphus and the news article link suicide and feelings of hopelessness with alienation which will be discussed in this blog entry.

In Camus’s paper he shows a theory of “the absurd” this is mainly showing how there is a conflict between what we want from the universe and what we ultimately find in the universe. To Camus, life is either taking a leap of faith with God or that life is mainly meaningless. Camus continues by saying if life has no meaning, does life have a point of living? Does a meaningless life lead one to commit suicide?

This can relate to the article almost identically. Camus is a believer in accepting the absurdity of life and its meaningless. Where these young children and people of all ages are also feeling alienated in a “meaningless” life and not sure if it is worth the fight any longer. Alienation leading to suicide can be because of relationship problems, work or life in general which is shown in The Myth of Sisyphus.

In The Myth of Sisyphus, Sisyphus was punished for all of eternity to roll a rock up a mountain, only to have the rock keep rolling down after reaching the peak. Camus describes this as the typical absurd hero. Sisyphus is constantly rolling the rock up only to let it roll back down which is exactly how Camus would view life, constantly working for nothing. To Camus this is life’s pure struggle and that there is nothing more to life than that.

Bringing this in context to the article on suicide it is showing that being alienated from society and punished is also another way to lead one to suicide. As being the “absurd hero” Sisyphus is constantly working just to be failed, which is what these children can be feeling when they are considering suicide as an option. When life becomes truly “meaningless” as Camus says, and creating a role of suicidal thoughts leading up to the unthinkable. As well as when looking back not having much success to prove. This can be in forms of literal suicide or more contexts of suicide. Camus goes on by saying as long as Sisyphus accepts that there is nothing more in life then this absurd struggle, he can find happiness. So if an individual, such as ones in the article thinking about suicide, are actually give up it is just showing that the absurd life is not accepted and that there was no other option to them but ultimately ending what they found meaningless, and taking one of the paths Camus describes. 

Overall, Camus’s writings and the article had lots of similarities and gave a better understanding of the theme of alienation as a whole. The article and the reading complimented each other and were good understandings to be able to compare and help to be able to describe the text further. 


Summary of Albert Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus”. (2015, November 22). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http://reasonandmeaning.com/2015/11/22/summary-of-albert-camus-the-myth-of-sisyphus/

The Local. (2015, December 28). ‘Kids as young as ten are considering suicide’ Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.thelocal.de/20151228/helping-germans-overcome crisis-for-60-years

A. (2015, August 15). A Little Piece of Ground. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http://alittlepieceofground.tumblr.com/


Pink Floyd – The Wall


Beginning of the Album:

            Pink did not have a father because he had died in a War. He was alienated due to the fact he wasn’t like the other kids from school because he came from a broken home. He did not fit in at normal places, like the park, because he had no father to play with him. (shown in the movie)

Like the individuals calling the help-line, a majority came from broken homes and they just want to feel loved and understood. Some people in broken homes often feel like they don’t fit in or like they don’t belong anywhere.

            At the same time, Pink’s mother was alienated by the fact she had lost her husband to the war. She felt hopeless and helpless due to the fact she lost someone very close to her making her think there is no life without him.

The article states that people call into the hotline due to loneliness after a partner has died they can cause the feeling of alienation, because when you lose someone very close to you, you start to become very hopeless and there can be a feeling where there is no point of living anymore.


These points are shown in the song:

Another Brick in the Wall (Part 1) :

Daddy flown across the ocean

Leaving just a memory

snapshot in the family album

Daddy, what d’ya leave for me?


 Pink begins to build a wall between himself and the world in order to distance the obstacles he faces without a father figure to help guide him. While his mother begins to alienate herself due to the loss of a loved one and feeling hopeless. 

                Pink is also alienated by his teacher. Due to the fact that he felt the teachers controlled his own thoughts and what they were teaching them just lead to failure – for example the children all falling off the ledge in the film – and that all the students attending the school were similar and therefore lacked self worth or identity.

These points are shown in the song:

Another Brick in the Wall (PartII):

[Verse 1: Waters\Gilmour]

We don’t need no education

We don’t need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone


Teacher, leave them kids alone!

All in all it’s just another brick in the wall

All in all you’re just another brick in the wall



This point in the song could relate to the children calling the helpline. They could be feeling hopeless due to feeling like they don’t belong in a school environment or they lack identity when they are there. They could be forced to become knowledgeable about topics they don’t find interesting or they could feel like they are being brainwashed. The revolt could be the final breaking point for the children therefore having no where to turn so calling the line to seek help.

Middle of the Album: 

            Pink begins the second part of the album, singing behind the wall built from wanting to isolate himself from the everyday struggles of internal obstacles and external obstacles. He begins to feel lonely behind the wall, and starts to wonder if anyone is there.

This is the point where people are feeling so isolated and like they need guidance from someone to the point they will ask anyone for help. This is the point in the article where the individuals are feeling so alone and helpless that they feel calling the helpline is the only thing they can do to help themselves. The help-line gave people who felt alone and helpless, hope again.


This is shown in the song:

Hey You:

Hey you out there on your own

Sitting naked by the phone

Would you touch me?

Hey you with your ear against the wall

Waiting for someone to call out

Would you touch me?

Hey you, would you help me to carry the stone?

Open your heart, I’m coming home

          Pink is feeling hopeful and this is a cry for help. Asking if there is anyone out there who could help him find belonging again and touch him, making him feel like a human again. Then, asking is they could help him isolate himself, but reassures he’s coming home. The song carries  a lot of hope in it by the soft sounds and voice in the lyrics. On the ‘wave’ of alienation, Pink would be on the way up out of the hopelessness and the individuals calling the helpline would also be in that position.

Another song example:

Comfortably Numb:


Is there anybody there?

Just nod if if you can hear me.

Is there anyone home?

Come on now

I hear you’re feeling down

Well, I can ease your pain

And get you on your feet again


          Pink again asking for help, keeps asking for someone to guide him out of the isolation because it’s so lonely and hopeless, and the second part of this verse relates well to the callers on the other line, saying they are going to try to help them get to their feet again.


End of the Album:

            At the end, Pink breaks through the wall leaving the isolation behind, trying to reintegrate back into a lifestyle where he can feel happiness again. Although the feelings of being vulnerable may still linger due to a difficult emotional past, Pink has a support system which can help to feel less hopeless and like his life doesn’t mean anything.


This is the point in the article where the Priests get through to the people and  convince them that their lives are worth living, and not to give up.

Works Cited:

“‘Kids as Young as Ten Are considering Suicide'” – The Local. N.p., 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 03      Apr. 2016.

“The Wall by Pink Floyd.” Genius. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2016.

Pink Floyd completed by: Rylie Koch (201594817)

Kafka on Young Minds and the Thoughts of Suicide


(Analysis of the Metamorphosis, 2012)

Rylie, one of my group members, found an interesting article about a German helpline. The news article appears with the title, “kids as young as ten are considering suicide”. We chose to analyze this article through the eyes of a few different texts in relation to the concept of alienation. This post will examine the piece through the perspective of Franz Kafka and his work on the story, Metamorphosis. 


        The article we chose regarding young children between the ages of 10 and 14 calling a helpline to express their suicidal feelings is concerning. The world we live in today is an awfully fast-paced, minimal down time kind of society. These characteristics inherently lead many to a place of loneliness and alienation. This can be related to Gregor Samsa and his life in the story of Metamorphosis in a few ways. We will look at three specifically:

– Gregor’s inability to communicate in a meaningful way with those around him

– Gregor’s longing to just be heard and understood

– Gregor’s decision for suicide


        Gregor retains quite a few of his internal humanistic traits; these include things such as his emotions, thoughts, and feelings. We are given this insight through the third person perspective the story is written in. Gregor can still hear and understand what those around him are saying. On the other hand, Gregor lacks the ability to communicate in a meaningful way with those around him because his voice has been turned into nothing but a squeak. Communication is the most important aspect of human nature; it is what holds us together as families, friends, societies, and as a race. Without this, we become alienated, unable to express ourselves, our desires, and our needs. So when Gregor’s sister begins to refer to him as “it”, Gregor’s alienation has been completed. In a similar fashion, the people, young and old, calling this helpline might feel they have become nothing but a squeak to those around them. They feel they have become a burden and begin to retract within themselves. They long for attention and some display of affection; this too is what Gregor longs for.


         A child calling a help line is not uncommon; however, 1 in 5 of those children having suicidal tendencies is something of grave concern. If these children’s parents are busy chasing the status quo and other-worldly successes, they cannot offer the children an ear when they need it. This is something that is also present in the story of Metamorphosis. Gregor is so caught up in the hustle of life and supplying for his family that he is not given the time of day to reflect on some of the things that really matter. His family expects so much of Gregor it is difficult for him to sit down and talk with anyone. This can be seen in his complete lack of personal life or any evidence of a significant other. In this situation, it could just take a few minutes of someone’s time to ask how Gregor is doing. Fortunately, the children in this article have access to a helpline to aid them in easing their feelings of alienation. Gregor’s inability to feel love or connection is the feeling that ultimately drives him to let his life go.


        Gregor reaches the point where he feels he is no longer of any value. He has come to realize everyone around him no longer sees any humanistic traits and only sees him as a nuisance. Gregor decides the only solution to end the pain he is causing his family is the let his life end. The children calling this German helpline with thoughts of suicide are not far from having similar feelings. If not addressed they will undoubtedly end in the same “solution”. One could argue these children are going through the same metamorphosis as Gregor, only that it is not a permanent change. The children’s change is a one that can be reversed and will result in a feeling of freedom and growth; a feeling that Gregor could only dream of.

By: Jonas Haehlen

March 28, 2016


News article:

The Local. (2015, December 28). ‘Kids as young as ten are considering suicide’ Retrieved March 28, 2016, from http://www.thelocal.de/20151228/helping-germans-overcome crisis-for-60-years

Photo from: 
Analysis of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. (2012, October 11). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from https://assemismx.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/analysis-of-the-metamorphosis-by-franz-kafka/

Introduction & Selected Article

THE LOCAL: ‘Kids as young as ten are considering suicide’

            The article communicates that individuals in Germany who consist of children as young as 10 years old, women, and men are calling the ‘teleforseelsorge’ or ‘telephone pastors’ for advice and help. The line was established in Berlin in 1956 and roughly 45-million people have come to the aid of the telephone pastors since then. It is a 24 hour, 7 days a week line that can be called at any time, where 188 full-time employees who are trained and retrained to take these calls from all across the country. A great majority of the centers are run by the Catholic and protestant churches. The article continues by explaining that most of the calls received are about relationship problems inside the family or with a partner, and also about loneliness. People call the hotline regarding physical problems they are suffering from as well. “Many people just want to talk, and to feel understood”, Bracke explains after working in the service for 20 years. Bracke also goes on to explain that in the last 10-15 years there has been social deprivation, fear of losing one’s job, and poverty has risen. He claims that his is connected to the shame and damaged pride the some of the conversations to the telephone priests. The article makes clear that one-third of the caller’s experience suicidal thoughts where one in every 5 of these people are between the ages of 10 and 14 years old. The telephone pastors help the alienated individuals find hope in their lives, and try to show them their lives is meaningful.”


“‘Kids as Young as Ten Are considering Suicide'” – The Local. N.p., 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 03      Apr. 2016.