The theme of german war guilt in the novel the reader

The distance between them had been growing as Michael had been spending more time with his school friends; he feels guilty and believes it was something he did that caused her departure.

Criticism[ edit ] Schlink's problematic approach toward Hanna's culpability in the Final Solution has been a frequent complaint about the book.

He is emotionally stiff and does not easily express his emotions to Michael or his three siblings, which exacerbates the difficulties Hanna creates for Michael. Bernhard Schlink, author of The Reader and a series of other works that tackle the guilt of his and other generations about the past, says that German children today still have to deal with the difficult hand history has dealt them.

Germany can never be absolved of the crimes of the Holocaust but it can seek out the reasons for its guilt and try to make the changes that ensure the conditions for evil are never again put in place. After the trial, Michael suffers a fever and then is free of his numbness; this shows that confronting the past as the trial did is healthy for Germany.

Part 2[ edit ] Six years later, while attending law school, Michael is part of a group of students observing a war crimes trial. Having had a caddy stolen from her when she was a child in the camp, the woman does take the old tea caddy in which Hanna had kept her money and mementos.

Yet, the reality that is suggested is that any individual of the time who chose a path of convenience instead of resistance bears some level of guilt. As an older man, played by Ralph Fiennes, Michael must come to terms with his feelings of horror at being violated, at having his own capacity for forming relationships stunted, mingled with pity and even tenderness for this vilified creature.

You had to be deaf, dumb, and blind, not merely illiterate… You'd have to be exceedingly stupid. Her Nazism was accidental, and Franklin writes that Schlink offers no guidance about how to punish a brutality of convenience, rather than of ideology.

She has overcome her "deficiency," yet cannot escape the guilt to which she is linked. There is further guilt to this situation when Hanna must accept her position as a guard to conceal her illiteracy, a personal failure that results in the death of many.

He's doing his work, he doesn't hate the people he executes, he's not taking revenge on them, he's not killing them because they're in his way or threatening or attacking them. Perhaps, our guilt, as the reader, is that while we feel comfortable throwing stones and casting aspersions on Hanna and Michael, we realize that we might be guilty of doing some of the same things they did.

Examining the role of guilt in post-war Germany, The Reader presents guilt as a pervasive and inevitable force. He cannot muster up the empathy to "make the experience part of his internal life," according to Froma Zeitlin.

He feels guilty for having loved a remorseless criminal and at the same time is mystified at Hanna's willingness to accept full responsibility for supervising the other guards despite evidence proving otherwise.

Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles

At this meeting Brockdorff-Rantzau stated that "We know the intensity of the hatred which meets us, and we have heard the victors' passionate demand that as the vanquished we shall be made to pay, and as the guilty we shall be punished".

But it was impossible to do both. Michael is uncertain if she wanted to make their last days bearable or if she sent them to their death so they would not reveal her secret.

Oxford University Press,p. Kate Winslet gives a typically intelligent performance as Hanna, a sturdy, unprepossessing woman in a provincial town in s West Germany; she is employed as a tram conductor. Like many of his generation, he struggles to come to terms with his country's recent history.

How is the theme of guilt portrayed by Bernhard Schlink in the characters of Michael and Hanna?

An important motif running throughout the story is the question of who must be held responsible for atrocities committed during the Holocaust. At first she denies this, then in panic admits it in order not to have to provide a sample of her handwriting.

The theme of war guilt in Bernard Schlink’s, “The Reader” Essay Sample

The dramatic and emotional structure of the film insidiously invites us to see Hanna's secret misery as a species of victimhood that, if not exactly equivalent to that of her prisoners, is certainly something to be weighed thoughtfully in the balance, and to see a guilt-free human vulnerability behind war crimes.Guilt is a reoccurring theme in Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business, and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, that is demonstrated by various characters including, Dunstable Ramsay, Paul Dempster, Hamlet and Claudius and this essay shall compare the theme of guilt between the two literatures.

One of the main ideas in The Reader is German war guilt – guilt felt by both the war-time generation and the post-war generation. The post-war generation, to which the author, Schlink, belongs, has struggled to come to terms with the war crimes committed by the previous generation.

Bernhard Schlink, the best-selling author of The Reader, a post-Nazi era novel adapted into a film starring Kate Winslet, yesterday spoke about the extent of "collective guilt" which survives to.

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How is the theme of guilt portrayed by Bernhard Schlink in the characters of Michael and Hanna?

The Reader Bernhard Schlink Themes War Guilt One of the main ideas in The Reader is German war guilt - guilt felt by both the war-time generation and the post-war generation. The post-war generation, to which the author, Schlink, belongs, has struggled to come to terms with the war crimes c.

Nazi war crimes are a theme in the novel due mainly to the fact that Hanna is on trial for war crimes, and the trial is one of the key moments of Michael's life.

The Reader

He has already told the reader that his generation judge his parents' and grandparents' generations very harshly for not doing anything to prevent Hitler's power and the holocaust that was happening around them.

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The theme of german war guilt in the novel the reader
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