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Harry Mulischs The Assault - Essay Example

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The paper “Harry Mulisch’s The Assault” seeks to evaluate a masterful piece of creative work of this outstanding and famous writer. It is interesting not only to follow the realistic events described in the novel but also to focus on the main characters of the book…
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Harry Mulischs The Assault
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Download file to see previous pages Further on, we will discuss this character and consider him as an agent of his own life. Anton Steenwijk's life The life of Anton’s family in Amsterdam during the postwar period scares modern readers by the reality of depicted events and hardships of that period of history. The boy’s family dies, when Germans return to Amsterdam. The boy experiences life challenge. He feels the assault of his life episode happened to him in 1942 and now in 1952 he feels this bitter taste of a drastic personal experience. He returns to the place, where his family was killed. Nevertheless, his past echoes to him in 1956 when he comes across his classmate Fake Ploeg Jr. The events of evening 1942 have perverted the life of Ploeg as well. The family of the boy was also murdered by the Nazis and the boy felt the same degree of sorrow and emotional wound, as Anton did. Ten years after this incident, Anton meets a man, who took part in the assault on Ploeg. On the one hand, Anton has started a new life, he became the anesthesiologist and got married, but his inner world is being destructed by the drastic reminiscences from the past. Only in 1981 Anton reveals the secret of the assault of 1942 and finds out why Ploeg's body was moved in front of the Steenwijk house. Mulisch character’s development, Therefore, we can see that the author of the book intended to show the anthology of events of the postwar period and to underline a drastic destruction caused by Nazis inhumane deeds. “It was January, nineteen forty-five. Almost all of Europe had been liberated and was once more rejoicing, eating, drinking, making love, and beginning to forget the War. But every day Haarlem looked more like one of those spent grey clinkers that they used to take out of the stove when there had still been a coal to burn" (Mulisch 1987 p. 9). Moreover, the author selected episodes from Anton’s life, which happened during times of important events for the Dutch society. For example, Mulisch describes the events in Budapest in 1956; the release of Willy Lages (head of the Gestapo in Holland); anti-nuclear protests in 1981 (Van Galen Last and Wolfswinkel, 1996 Van Galen Last and Wolfswinkel, 1996). All these described periods were challenging for the Dutch’s society. Therefore, Mulisch makes an attempt to show a difficult inner struggle of his characters, to show a difficulty of their choices concerning right and wrong actions, to show an individual’s development on the background of important historical events and at the same time to underline a life-long burden imposed on an individual by fascism. Anton’s character development In accordance with a well-known claim: “…as we get older, a certain episode from our youth will gather around itself, like a pearl growing in its shell, greater and greater significance, until one day we realize that this episode has determined our life’s course, that all along it contained the seeds of our fate” (Van Galen Last and Wolfswinkel, 1996). Thus, like many other authors, Mulisch has followed this claim and like Proust, whose main character realized the importance of the peal of the bell on a garden gate outside his summer home in Combray (In Search of the Lost Time), showed that Anton would finally realize drastic events happened in his youth only after several decades.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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