The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum

2868 Words Apr 15th, 2005 12 Pages
The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum

Knowing about the writer of a literary text can shape significantly the way that it is read. Consider the effect of the writer's context on your understanding of The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum.

"As a writer of fiction Böll was interpreting history, creating patterns of meaning, ordering his material to enable his reader to make sense of it." The experiences of Böll and his values that arose from these events have been influential on the content and themes of Böll's novel, The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum. Böll experienced both the first and second world wars and the effects that these wars had on German society. Events such as the economic collapse in Germany post WWII, the construction of the
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"No, he could offer no proof of his claim nor did he want to, he even said he did not need to, he could still rely on his sense of smell and he had simply smelled that Blum was a Communist." These accusations are made without any supportive evidence and despite the clear capitalist platforms that Katharina has based her life upon such as carefully saving up enough money to buy an apartment and a car. Anyone who offered resistance to the dominant hegemonic structures in society was viewed with suspicion and claimed to be a communist. "The only result for Blorna was that, at the conclusion of his inquiries in the village, he was himself described, if not precisely abused, as a Communist…" The press spread such fear and paranoia about this ideology when in fact Böll felt that some aspects of communism would benefit a capitalist society. Brettloh makes the statement,
"That's how false ideas about socialism are bound to end. I ask you and your readers: How does a housemaid come by such wealth? Not honestly that's for sure. Now I know why I was always scared by her radical views, her hostility to the Church…"
This fear is then spread in society, tainting the way that others view Katharina. Dr Heinin goes on to express, "mistakenly assuming her to be a Marxist (probably he too had read the insinuation of Brettloh…), was taken aback by
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