This article will compare two novels: Moyshe Kulbak’s Montog (“Monday”) and Samuel Beckett’s Murphy. Each novel ends with the death of its protagonist, figured as both a senseless act and the apotheosis of its hero’s self-reflexive, ironic rejection of community, faith, and purpose. Drawing on theories of Hannah Arendt, this comparison proposes to read the two narratives and their preoccupation with incarceration, institutionalization, revolutionary activity, religion, and the family as profound yet oblique parables on the nature of privation, resistance, and commitment in the multiple senses. Indeed, by arguing on behalf of a “politics of failure,” this comparison proposes a methodology for reading Beckett and Kulbak postcolonially that in turn invites further consideration of the postcolonial status of expatriate Irish and early-Soviet Jewish cultures, respectively. This essay creates for the two narratives a community of elective affinity that neither author would have envisioned for himself, and thus demonstrates that their respective critiques of ideological progress—via their shared strategies of parody, linguistic marginality, and exile—fulfill an explicitly political function.