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History 2 - Essay Example

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Name Professor Name Class 28 May 2011 Crabwalk Analysis Gunter Grass is one of Germany's most successful and widely-known authors, the winner of a Nobel Prize amongst other awards. Born in 1927, Grass was part of the German army during the Second World War, and it is clear that the guilt from being a cog in the Nazi machine has stayed with him…
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History 2

Download file to see previous pages... As in earlier novels, Grass uses Crabwalk to ask whether subsequent generations of German citizens have adequately dealt with the horrors of the Third Reich. The nation's policy of remorse does not provide the analysis and the assumption of personal responsibility which Grass thinks is necessary. In the deftly-woven plot of Crabwalk, shortsightedness and regret characterize modern Germany, but this vision is far more bleak than the reality. This essay will look at the protagonist Paul Pokriefke – namely his relationships with his mother and son – as well as the significance of the sinking of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff. Germany's reaction to its past is an issue which has not been left dormant over the seventy years since the war. The Reader, written by Bernhard Schlink in 1995 and made into a film in 2008, is just one other of the Vergangenheitsbewaltigung genre, in which German writers struggle to come to terms with their collective past. The problem to be resolved is that different factions of society obviously have different solutions for how to deal with the repercussions of the Third Reich. ...
The first step of this process is portrayed in Tulla's relationship with her son. Paul refuses to believe his mother's statement that she went into labor with him when the ship MV Wilhelm Gustloff began to sink, attributing this to her sense of drama rather than actual fact. The repercussions of Paul's secret disbelief of his mother will be discussed below. In general terms, Tulla's demand of Paul that he write a history of the capsizing reflects her generation's incapability to deal with Nazism, and the way this responsibility was handed off to a generation who felt equally as unable, as well as far less culpable. In The Reader, Bernhard Schlink expresses the reaction of the second generation as a complete laying of the blame on the silent parents, regardless of whether they had actually been personally involved in the Nazi regime. This approach is just as untenable and unfair as Grass's insistence that the blame should be taken on the shoulders of subsequent generations. Paul's relationship with his mother portrays the uneasy dysfunction between those who lived through Nazism and those who came immediately after it. Tulla's silence, coupled with her wish that her son break that silence for her, creates an unhappy family and an unhappy country. This silence, borne of shame, means that following generations will not fully understand the evil of Nazism – the oft-repeated and almost clicheic statement that “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana) is wholly appropriate in the case of Konrad. Grass's antagonist is Konrad Pokriefke, Paul's estranged son, whose close relationship with his ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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