“When we see a natural style, we are astonished and delighted; for we expected to see an author, and we find a man.” (Blaise Pascal). Writing style is the way a text is written to portray the author’s message to the audience. The Reader portrays the struggle of post Third Reich generations coming to terms with Nazi war crimes, by effectively using a unique writing style. Bernard Schlink uses first-person point-of-view, clear and descriptive language, short chapters, metaphors and various tones.
The Reader is written in the first-person point of view, Schlink's style is sparse and his language is simple. Michael Berg, the protagonist, is also the narrator of the book. In the final chapter Michael Berg declares to be the author of the autobiographical text as proven in the following passage.
“Soon after her death, I decided to write the story of me and Hanna, since then I’ve done it many times in my head, each time a little differently, each time with new images, and new strands of action and thought.” (Schlink 216)
The use of first person as a fictional autobiography gives the story a realistic tone. Michael Berg is a sympathetic character even though he is not, in numerous ways, a particularly likable character to the readers and his true love Hanna Schmitz. Michael Berg is an inward looking, cold, and reserved character. Nonetheless, the way The Reader is put together allows Michael to present himself in a favorable position to the readers. The character of Hanna Schmitz is also of interest since she is an illiterate Nazi war criminal, and she is constructed to be somewhat sympathetic, since access to her is controlled entirely from Michael's viewpoint.
Through analyzing part one of the reader it is imperative that...
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...n that this story is merely fiction is almost heart shattering. “Soon after her death, I decided to write the story of me and Hanna. Since then I’ve done it many times in my head, each time a little differently, each time with new images, and new strands of action and thought.” (216) The characters that once seemed so real are just figments of the author’s imagination.
The author uses a first person writing style to give the audience a character's perspective, which better influences how the novel is perceived by the audience. Schlink's writing style reflects the concept of the novel by using various tones to express the emotions of the characters and to illustrate the novel from Michael Berg's perspective. Benhard Schlink's writing style was an effective way to capture the audience because he used clear language and the chapters were short, but very descriptive.