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Borowski and Lispector
The stories of Borowski and Lispector explore the stories that are different in many aspects. While the work of Boworski is directly connected to his life as it shows the Holocaust victims during their imprisonment, Lispector’s writing portrays the life of a woman, who is unhappy in her marriage. However, both authors use some similar themes in their works. The feelings of rage, for instance, are defined by characters from both works.
Borowski’s protagonists are angry at each other. Their emotions are influenced by their situation as they are pitted against each other by people that control them. The fear of these people turns to rage because of their shared powerlessness. One of the prisoners says to another “Ah, you bloody Jewess! So you’re running from your own child! I’ll show you, you whore!” as he tries to prove his position of power to Germans (Puchner et al., 2017, p. 704).
Lispector’s portrayal of rage, on the other hand, shows it being partly directed towards the main protagonist herself. The woman hates not only her husband, her children, and her way of living but also her decisions that led to this life. She often curses and degrades herself with such harsh words as “what a slovenly, lazy bitch you’ve become” (Puchner et al., 2017, p. 814). It is safe to assume that the protagonist blames herself for her current situation.
Celan and Amichai
It is possible that Celan uses repetition to express the feelings of repetitiveness that he and the other people felt during the imprisonment. His use of metaphors shows the tragedy of the situation, while the constant reoccurrence of the same phrase only strengthens its force (Pritchett, 2014). Through these devices, Celan tries to show readers the everyday routine that he remembers to be both monotonous and hopeless. Boase-Beier (2014) states that such language also shows obsessive thoughts of the author connected to particular memories. Amichai uses metaphors without mentioning the Holocaust in many poems. Moreover, he rarely repeats them and usually uses metaphors as a way to talk about general situations. Celan, on the other hand, utilizes multiple metaphors for one event.
Literary Blog Entry
The themes of identity and relation of self to the other can be emphasized in these readings. All authors try to show their emotions connected to their past lives. While they all had similar experiences, their feelings find different ways of expression. For example, Borowski speculates about self, writing that some people found solace in rejecting such aspects as humanity and empathy to continue living.
The author asks questions that make readers think about the necessity of distancing oneself from the troubles of others as a way to survive. Lispector talks about the problems of self-identification and self-hate. The author’s protagonist is unsure of herself first and foremost. She does not question other people as much as herself. While describing the character’s thoughts, Lispector writes “her open dressing gown revealed in the mirrors the intersected breasts of several women” highlighting that the woman may not recognize herself as one person (Puchner et al., 2017, p. 809). The contrast of these two themes shows that understanding of self and identity is a complex concept that can be looked at from different sides.
Post-war writings often explore internal conflicts of characters as some of them try to return to the processes and activities of normal life. It allows writers to reflect upon the actions and emotions that were perceived as normal during the years of the war and see whether the same aspects of their lives would change or stay the same. Some internal conflicts may be resolved because the problems are no longer present, while others do not go away with time. Thus, the post-war society lives with the changed perception of self. Popular culture often centers on the internal conflict of the main hero if he or she goes through some changes. Superheroes, for example, often battle their human side and heroic side and struggle with the concept of self.
Boase-Beier, J. (2014). Bringing home the Holocaust: Paul Celan’s Heimkehr in German and English. Translation and Literature, 23(2), 222-234.
Pritchett, P. (2014). How to write poetry after Auschwitz: The burnt book of Michael Palmer. Journal of Modern Literature, 37(3), 127-145.
Puchner, M., Akbari, S. C., Denecke, W., Dharwadker, V., Fuchs, B., Levine, C., … Wilson, E. (Eds.). (2015). The Norton anthology of world literature (3rd ed.) (Vol. 2). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.