In the Jewish community, bitter herbs are a traditional food present during the season of Passover. The herbs have a symbolic meaning and are eaten to commemorate the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt during the exodus (Passover). Bitter Herbs is the English translation of the Dutch novel Het Bittre Kruid by Marga Minco, translated by Roy Edwards. The novel gives accounts of German occupation in the Netherlands during World War II through the eyes of a young girl. Minco published the book in 1957, 12 years after the war ended. This paper will give an analysis of Bitter Herbs by discussing the impact on the reader through the author’s perspective, its prose style, and its many themes and symbols.
The perspective of the narrator in the Bitter Herbs is crucial to the impact of the novel on the reader. The narrator of the story is a nameless young Jewish girl. She introduces herself and her family as living in the Netherlands, the day of German occupation in her town. The narrator takes the reader through a series of personal events that she and her family experienced as Jews during German occupation. The reader is only given information through the young perspective of the narrator, including historical events and tragedies. For example, the narrator and her family witness their neighbors get taken away by police. “At first, nobody passed. But after a few minutes we saw big, black boots appear, jackboots, which made a loud clicking noise as they walked…We also saw ordinary shoes, walking along side the boots. Men’s brown shoes, a pair of pumps worn over at the heels, and sports
King 2 shoes. Two pairs of black boots stepped to the vehicle slowly, as if they had something heavy to carry.” (Minco 53). Nowhere is the reader told e...
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...WII from the perspective of a young Jewish girl. Marga Minco writes with a perspective that allows the reader to actively reflect on the events that the narrator goes through.
The injustices of the events presented in this novel are infuriating and unfair, and the perspective of the narrator allows this to happen TOO PERSONAL???
. The first sentence of the novel states: “It began one day when my father said: ‘We’ll just go and see whether everyone’s back.’” (pg. 1). Somberly, the epilogue concludes with the statement: “They would never come back—not my father, not my mother, nor Betty, nor Dave or Lottie.” (pg. 115). This shows the extremity of the events the narrator goes through. She looses the greater part of her family, narrowly escapes being taken away herself, is forced to travel to avoid demise. Capturing the events of this period is/// gahhh finish off.