Man`s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl Critical Analysis

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Man’sSearch for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl Critical Analysis


Inthe book Viktor E. Frankl narrates the individual narrative of hisencounter as an inmate in a death camp through the Holocaust. Hegives the tale in the form of an essay in which he gives his opinionsand scrutiny as a medic and psychologist, and also as an earlierinmate. The purpose of this work is to review Frankl’s storytogether with his major point of view, as well as assess thesuperiority of Frankl’s work and concentrate on some parts ofweaknesses through the narrative. It is so delightful to read apsychological book that is talking about life`s concerns as themajority of the people perceive them. His style goes with hishumanity and motivation and sidelines most of other psychologicalbooks, which are composed of theoretical-oriented style rather thancreativity.

Frankl`snarrative of his stay in concentration camps is nowadays well-knownand illustrated by most scholars and researchers. It possibly standsfor the definitive &quotimpossibilities are possible&quot casestudy. Most of our moans and complications are insignificant asequated to Frankl`s predicament as a convicted Jew in theconcentration camp. Reading his book, it is a must to feel humiliateddue to our small protests that we sometimes stage when we face smallissues. His message is that the absolute social liberty is the choiceto regulate our defiance toward the circumstances we receive. We arenot subject to a response like Pavlovian dogs in response to stimuli.No one is obliged to deprive us our autonomy. Frankl believed thateven if the Nazi’s could execute a lot of miseries to him, couldkill his families, and could detain they were unable to purpose ordecide and how he would perceive things. He had authority over themanner he would do things, respond, and act. Regardless of theiractions, he was the one to decide his conducts and be accountable forthem at any given time.


Franklstarts the narration by mentioning the aim of his work, which is notintended to give facts and detailed information about Holocaust, butto offers individual encounter of the day-to-day life of an inmatestaying in a ‘death’ camp. He asserts the story is not associatedwith major repulsions, which have been previously pronouncedfrequently sufficient (although less habitually assumed), but it willattempt to give solution to this query: How was daily stay in‘death’ camp echoed in the head of the regular inmate?” He thencontinues with the description of three stages of inmate’s mentalresponses to being detained in a concentration camp.

Thebook is encompassed of two sections, the first part which is thelongest is narrator`s experience as an inmate. Frankl narrates abouthis entire encounter with no animosity or vengefulness. He says whathe knows there are the three stages of inmates` mental responses tothe concentration camps. He explains these steps with illustrationsfrom his encounters or of inmates he knew while imprisoned. Thus, hisexplanation of &quotencounters in a Concentration Camp&quotconcentrates on the challenge of hopelessness, and the correctbehavior and mind of those who overwhelmed the cruelty exacted onthem.

Theinitial stage, which occurs immediately after the inmate is taken tothe camp, is shocking. The following phase, taking after the inmatehas adapted chores inside the camp, is lethargy, or the diminishingof the feelings and the sense that one is not able any more. Thelast stage, which happens once the inmate has been released from thecamp, is a time of dehumanization, in which all seems dreamlike,improbable like a nightmare. In this stage, the freed inmate alsosenses the feel of hostility and disappointment when going to theirprevious lifestyle.

Thesurvivors were yearning for revenge or perceived no importance totheir lives when their entire relatives had been killed. But themajority of the prisoners were not able to maintain their confidencein life`s implication under the dehumanizing situations surroundingthe ‘death’ camps. Frankl illustrates how it was deceptive when aperson who has lost hope: they would decline to get out of bed to goto their work, and would regularly remove a long-veiled cigarette fora final secretive pleasure prior to their demises. Frankl believesthat the majority of the people who perceive their lives as uselesshide their hopelessness in empty happy-seeking faces. Frankl definesevery stage by employing psychological theory and gives hisencounters to illustrate every stage.


Frankl’sprimary objective of his work is to present and scrutinize the normalinmate’s mental responses to the daily stay in a concentrationcamp. His three central point of view are his demonstration andscrutiny of every mental stage that the normal death camp inmateencounters: shock, lethargy, and dehumanization. The grounds of hisscrutiny in every stage is on the deeds of the inmates and individualminds and responses as he encountered to stay in a death camp. Forinstance, Frankl claims that the second stage of lethargy influencesthe inmate’s life settles to an old standard in which every energyand full feeling were addressed on main duty: conserving individuallife and that of fellow inmates. His theories are grounded onoccurrences he encountered while staying in the camp, and assertsthat it was normal that the craving for nourishment was the pureprimeval surroundings under which emotional existence was positioned. He discovered most of the inmates when left unguarded during thework time together they would start discussing the nourishment. Frankl unceasingly applies illustrations from his encounters in thecamp to demonstrate and reinforce his intellectual urgings allthrough the story.

Frankl`sencounters in the camp give him the assumption that &quotLifefinally means being responsible for getting the correct answer to itschallenges to accomplish the duty that was continually given toeverybody. There is no universal solution to a problem. Everybody inthe universe if faced with a situation, and some complications andencounters, the meaning of our lives is usually proposed to us and wehave the capacity to either make it positive or negative. It isdeceptive to perceive for a great meaning above and past our lives.So usually our lives’ importance is gotten in creative work or thegratification of it, our warm-heartedness towards others, or even inour reaction to misery, which such as demise is a particular sectionof life. From his encounters, Frankl stresses the likelihoods ofdiscovering meaning by one`s certain difficulties.


Thispart entails an assessment of his work. First, the writer beingvictim of the tough period and was an inmate in the camp, whichoffers him the individual perception to be capable of remarking onthe mysterious circumstances of a typical inmate. Conversely, thisstill makes a preconception and due to the personal encounter, he isincapable of being totally unbiased in giving his scrutiny. Frankladmits this bias at the start of the narrative, by saying, only theinmates can understand. His conclusions may not be unbiasedhowever, his assessments may be perceived to be overstated. This isunavoidable. Efforts should be made to shun any individual bias, andthat is the actual struggle of a work of this type. Though he isconscious of this bias, it brings an one-sidedness that willinfluence the person who reads the entire the book, and it appears asa little weakness in his writing method.

Frankldevotes the largest section of the second half of his work expoundingon suffering and their probable meaning. He even goes past what wecan comprehend as its significance. To the significance, we couldhardly comprehend, but a more intellect person could understand. Hetries to set it clear that to suffer unreasonably is masochisticsomewhat than suffer courageously. His argument all over the story isthat suffering requires one not be in futile individuals mustunderstand the meaning, with the fact that one cannot suffer withouta reason. Though Frankl is right for any effect, there must be acause. It is agreeable some suffering an individual may be goingthrough is not as a result of his or her actions. For anyone who issuffering for the deeds that are beyond their control, it is hard topersuade to search the meaning of their lives which is full ofuncontrollable sorrows.

Tosome extent I concur with Frankl that those who suffer legitimatelyshould be accorded or regarded as having pathology. Too I agree thatjoy has its price, perceived as usual, and probably extra exemplifiedin the media. The chances are high for those who have reasons tosuffer from having explanation for the feel as outsiders when theyare sad as an outcome of the above mentioned illustrations. Theaffiliation to Buddhist doctrine may be the reason for thedisagreement with Frankl concerning on his perception regardingsuffering. Perhaps the wish for everybody to be joyful in their livesmakes the opinion differ.

Franklgives abundant examples of genuine suffering: both inconceivable, inthe death camp, Rabbi’s wife and kids were murdered and more usual,a mom nurturing a disabled child, a man losing his partner of manyyears. It is deniable for people to suffer for genuine reasons. Theseare undoubtedly awful occasions that lead to grief, necessitategrief, and should be accorded their satisfactory expressive due.There are two amusing concerns of life. The first being a lot ofpeople suffer unreasonably. It appears that the majority accept thatmartyrdom is also a form of life. It is common to encounter mostpeople who delight in being martyrs though they would rarely confessit. That kind of persons believes they have to sacrifice for somepurposes. Briefly, they suffer unnecessarily or for the remuneration.

Anotherconcern regards those suffering one would get an advantage byaccepting that to some degree they opt to suffer. However, this doesnot imply that there were no conditions that lead to theirsufferings. The implication here is, to some degree, the choice ofresponse is upon them. Opting on how to respond is the healthiestoption they should make. To Frankl unnecessary suffering is heroic.Maybe his perception was influenced by the conditions surroundinghim. He clarifies precisely on how he and his fellow inmates sufferedhorrifying experiences. Even today such horrible suffering is beingexperienced, and it is not right to dismiss anyone’s genuinesuffering. The perception here is the majority of unnecessarysufferings, even those that are being suffered today, would be easilyendured by accepting and moving on. Also, the Frankl’s opinion onreactions and behavior is questionable. He tried to show throughouthis book that everybody is responsible for his or her behaviorregardless of the conditions available. If suffering is regarded as aresponse, then the individual option (to a certain degree) to sufferthen this raises another concern.

Thefollowing are the weaknesses of his work in the assumptions he attimes offers to ascertain his argument. He gives potentoversimplifications regularly in his book, stating some things,though to him and his fellow inmates might be accurate, but might notbe accurate to every inmate in the concentration camps present duringthe same period of Holocaust. At one point he argues the inmates ofAuschwitz, at the initial stage of shock, were not frightened by thedemise. It is so daring to argue that inmates of Auschwitz, amongstthe famous worst concentration camps during that period, were notfrightened by demise, as demise always surrounded them and was anactual major menace in their everyday existence. Though he might notbe disturbed by the demise in his shock stage, it is hard for him towarrant that no inmate was shocked by the death in the initial mentalstage. The all-embracing expectations as this is a weakness to thegeneral superiority of Frankl’s work.

Heat times, turns to be too profession and too wordy in his writingmethod, making his work more difficult for a regular reader tocomprehend. For example, Frankl says, “I recall an occurrence whenthere was a circumstance for psychotherapeutic job on the prisonersof the entire camp, owing the intensification of theirapproachability due to a particular outside occurrence.” Thestatement is excessively verbose and complex, making it hard for theordinary reader to comprehend the real meaning of his statement. Areader can at a time become discouraged when attempting to interpretthe writer’s implication due to excessively complex language.

Franklutilizes relatively small part of his work exploring how toassimilate logotherapy into a legitimate psychotherapeutic exercise.However, some sections are seeming, leading amongst them the notionof indecisiveness. He argues logotherapist is the least tried amongstthe existing psychoanalysts to enforce worth decisions on hisclients, for he cannot authorize them to permit to the medic theobligation of choosing. To him the idea of indecisiveness, whilemoral, is not usually applied. Here, logotherapy achieves specificrestrictions as an intercession. Even the firmest qualitativescientists agree that being unbiased is difficult by a sense of humaninterference, and logo treatment is not resistant to that conclusion.

Thesensation misery refers to the sensation of a loss of meaning. Franklutilizes this as the foundation of the societal image to plan hisidea of despair. The sensation can be associated with the issue,sense the total influence of what he have been through. Therefore,the individual feels the total load of the condition and this senseis the foundation for Frankl’s idea of despair. The feeling istypically related to undesirable spirits. Frankl thus looks atdespair as an unwanted sensation that occurs, when individualdiscovers that he has essentially misplaced something of importanceowing to a deed that could or could not have been evaded. Thus, ademise of a treasured one, the separation of partners, demolition ofriches, and abandon by the close relative or kids all would lead tothe one`s condition of despair. Conferring to this, what theindividual is feeling inside is dissimilar from what is occurring tothe surrounding.

Frankl`sconcepts are so applicable to his readers. He discusses the entiresufferings that he and his companion inmates suffer. Nonetheless,these persons disentangled all their power and their expectationsfrom discomfort, sorrow, and misery. Frankl`s description areastonishing. Anyone reading his novel engages the carnages that theinmates have, and they associate it to the relatively littledifficulties that they encounter on a daily basis. Thesecomplications appear to be subtly related to what the inmatesencountered. However, with all those sorrows he still wants us tobelieve they never regret being in the camp. Usually, when sufferingsbecome unbearable, the chances of perceiving things in different waysare high.

Anothermajor critique of logotherapy is the incapacity to examine it.Different to other theories like behaviorism, logotherapy is notmerely provided itself to quantitative analysis. It is like Franklillustrates it, a fundamentally logical method to the internal humanrealm. In spite of the weakness of the logo therapy from aquantifiable perception, the essence of the impression is stilloutstanding. Frankl’s book has motivated other theorists likeAbraham Maslow to contemplate the effect of mysterious essentials ofthe human understanding extremely. This, as a result, assisted themto advance the discipline of transpersonal psychology.


Thecritical analysis has assessed the work Man’sSearch for Meaningby Viktor E. Frankl. The psychosomatic models that he gives are muchexciting, and he does a worthy work of demonstrating these theorieswith individual encounters. However, his work is challenged due tothe occurrence of partiality, the all-encompassing assumptions he attimes gives, and he occasionally applies excessively professional andwordy language. However, no matter the critiques that might ariseMan’sSearch for Meaningis a book I immensely applauded, due to the motivation it has offeredreaders around all over the universe.

Frankl`sconcepts are so applicable to his readers. He explains more on thesuffering and hard times they endured in the concentrated camps. Heand his people disentangled all their power and their anticipationsfrom discomfort, suffering, and misery. This is what accords Frankl`sexplanation astonishing. Any scholar reading this book acquires thecarnages that the inmates had to endure, and they relate them to thecomparatively minor difficulties that face them in their daily lives.These challenges appear to be exceedingly small as compared with whatthe inmates had to pass through. When some read on how the survivorswere capable of getting the power from their encounters, it offersthe readers the right inspiration and the push in the course ofsearching their personal peace despite any challenges orcomplications that may arise. Frankl`s explanation is an outstandingstory that has served to encourage and assist the majority of thepeople who have come across Man’sSearch for Meaning.


Frankl,V. (2006). Man`ssearch for meaning.Boston: Beacon Press.