Woody Allen was born in 1935, and is an American writer (and a movie director, screenwriter, actor, comedian and playwright) who is born and raised in New York City. Woody Allen’s work is very prolific, and he loves writing about the neurotic upper-class life on Manhattan. The short story The Rejection (written in 2007) is about a successful man, Boris Ivanovich, and his wife Anna, whose son is rejected from “the very best nursery school in Manhattan”. Boris and Anna are wealthy and successful, with very much focus upon how the upper-class community sees them.
When Mischa (Boris and Anna’s son) gets rejected from the nursery school, Boris fears the reaction from his co-workers at Bear Stearns. Especially the reaction from one of his co-workers, Siminov, is on Boris’ mind – and not without reason. The following Monday, when Boris goes the office, there is a dead hare on his desk – and Boris knows that everyone know about the rejection. Siminov, his co-worker, tells Boris that Mischa never will be accepted at any decent college – all because of the rejection from the nursery school.
When Boris asks Siminov about what he means, Siminov tells him a story about a renowned investment banker who failed to get his son into an “acceptable” kindergarten. Siminov tells Boris that the son was forced to attend a public school and ended up in a barber college, shaving the wealthy. One day, Boris gets contacted by his lawyer, Shamsky, who tells him that there’s a man, Fyodorovich, who can arrange a second interview for Mischa, if Boris gives him information about “certain companies” stocks.
Boris, in his desperation to get his son in the perfect nursery school, accepts, even though he knows it’s illegal to inside trade information like that. Furthermore, Shamsky tells Boris that a donation would help as well – “nothing showy. I know they’re looking for someone to pick up the tab for a new annex” he says. Boris and Shamsky is talking while eating lunch in a restaurant called Le Cirque, where Boris has been denied access since the news about his sons rejection. Because of that, Boris is at the restaurant in disguise, but gets recognized by a waiter, and then thrown out.
When Boris gets home to his wife Anna, he tells her that they must sell their country house in Amagansett to get the money to buy their way into the nursery school. Anna began to cry, and remembered all the good time her and her family walked through their neighbor’s kitchen to get to the ocean to swim and play. Unfortunately, on the day for Mischa’s second interview, his guppy died without any actual reason, and Mischa – because of his sadness – failed the second interview too.
Boris and Anna have to move to a shelter for homeless people – they used all their money to “buy” a second interview for their son – and met many other families who had not been able to get their kids to go to the elite-schools. At the end, Boris tells Anna that he “now believes in something”, that he believes that all people, regardless of their wealth, some day will dwell in the City of God, because “Manhattan is definitely getting unlivable. The main character in The Rejected, Boris Ivanovich, is an extremely upper-class man. He’s a man with success, and a man who practically lives his life the way he thinks other people think is the best way. He is willing to lose everything to get his son into the finest nursery school in Manhattan, and he’s afraid of the consequences if it doesn’t succeed. The typical American values about equality and mutual respect is completely ignored, and your net worth is your only actual value.
Boris is upper-class, and is therefore a part of a cynical hierarchy where those with the lowest income and no connections, are left to be alone. It’s an “every man makes his own fortune”-community, and the rejection of Mischa means that Boris gets kicked out of the upper-class. The short story focuses upon the insane pressure Boris is put under by himself and the complete contrast to the American Dream where everyone can make something for themselves.
In addition to that, the story focuses a lot upon Boris’ almost desperate attempt to be accepted in the upper-class society, where humans are worth nothing if they are poor or if their children don’t get into the right nursery school. The short story is not realistic at all. I say this, because that even though there are very extreme upper-class societies, I doubt that any restaurants would deny access because a father didn’t manage to get his son into the right nursery school.