The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll Essays

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The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Boll
Authors often use characters within their novels to show the consequences of challenging cultural boundaries and, in turn, display their own personal concerns. It is not uncommon for characters to reflect an author’s ideology regarding social groups in their contemporary time periods. It is clear that this is certainly the case with the 1975 novel The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, (also referred to as How Violence Develops and Where it Can Lead), written by the German Author, Heinrich Boll. The Lost Honour is, on the surface, an attack on yellow journalism and the damage it causes to the lives of the people reported on. However, with a more in depth analysis of the novel we are able to
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Bolls sympathy and admiration for economically lower class citizens, most likely due to the economic hardship faced by his father, is presented through the hardworking nature of Blum. However, he also shows the suspicion cast upon Blum because of her comfortable living standards as a result of her independent ways. This suggests that he is concerned with people’s inability to except rises in class without assuming something sinister or unlawful has occurred in the process. Through the use of his characters in The Lost Honour and Bolls personal life experiences we are able to see his concerns regarding the cultural boundaries within Germany.

Boll has demonstrated a sympathetic leaning towards females through the lack of power and rights given to his title character Katharina Blum in correlation with his own political views. It is clear that within The Lost Honour it is Blum who we are supposed to sympathise with. This is clear through the satirical tone used by the less then ‘objective’ limited third person narrator. One of the things implied about women, specifically Blum, repeatedly throughout the novel is the fact that they were created to satisfy men’s sexual needs and little else. An example of this is during the questioning of Blum about her relationship with Gotten as Beizmenne allegedly asked Blum “Well, did he fuck you?” Blum
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