In Franz Kafka's story The Cares of a Family Man, one can easily consider what something "is" in order to consider it a failure. His story revolves around a creature called Odradek. This creature's characteristics are described in great detail. These details offer the reader the ability to examine and criticize the purpose and necessity of objects (or things/people) such as Odradek.
What this does for some readers is offer a place for them to being in examining who they are and their own purpose in life. If they see themselves as "creatures" similar to Odradek, then the possibility arises that they, too, may be found useless and a failure.
The one bright thought which emerges from the text is the promise that some people tend to hold tight to possibilities. These possibilities are illuminated by the fact that they may become useful and not be considered useless (or a failure).
Therefore, the text can make one question failure based upon the fact that they are forced to look at their qualities which identify them as either successful or as a failure. While some may find promise in the text, others may find that their own shortcomings as evidence to their inability to succeed (or to fail).