Public Discourse Surrounding An Event Like The Holocaust

1781 WordsOct 12, 20158 Pages
In public discourse surrounding an event like the Holocaust, it is not uncommon for one to want to summarize the event in some abstract concept, be it positive or negative. This type of thinking is especially prevalent in the conclusions drawn by those reading literary works relating to the Holocaust, in which the stories are so entrenched with stereotypes of suffering and the equivocal life-lessons that they lead to a rather shallow understanding of an emotive and difficult subject. This is not to say that drawing these types of conclusions is wrong or especially invalid, but rather the process of projecting these lessons onto the story without developing their further implications speaks to a superficial longing of externalizing the…show more content…
What this means in Holocaust literature is that the Holocaust itself is taught as an event that is over and done with-the story begins when Hitler comes into power and thusly ends when the camps are liberated and he and the Nazis are defeated. Klüger, however, is persistent in demonstrating throughout the novel that her lived experience during the Holocaust still affects her, be it implicitly or not. This is most evident in the relationship she has with her mother, for which she leaves no room for sentimentality. We see this immediately, as one of the first interactions between the two is Klüger’s asking of which child her mother liked better. To this question her mother replied, “Schorschi, because I have known him longer” (29). At this point, we know little about Klüger and decidedly less about her mother. All we know is the contempt her mother feels towards her for contributing to her older brothers death, as before the question came up, her mother had told her that “If it hadn’t been for [her], she could have saved [her brother]” (29). In this situation then, we see that Klüger’s mother blames her for the death of the child she was more attached to. Though Klüger did not take this to mean that her mother did not have love for her, Klüger writes that “Sixty years later, however, [she] still hear[s] her say it,” (29) eschewing
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