The Reader

analytical Essay
880 words
880 words

Memory is a powerful concept. Often when an individual undergoes a traumatic situation, the ramifications of these actions seep into an individual?fs psyche unknowingly. In effect this passes through memory and becomes sub-consciously buried within a person?fs behavioural patterns generally. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink explores the concept of a young mans subconscious desire for a woman whom he ?gcan?ft remember to forget?h (1Memento) as she is so deeply inlaid within his soul.

Critically acclaimed as ?gA formally beautiful, disturbing, and finally morally devastating novel. From the first page?c [it] ensnares both heart and mind?h ( Los Angeles Times), the novel tells the story of a young boy, 15, Michael Berg, through his own interior narration. He finds himself emotionally and sexually attached to a woman of over twice his age, Hanna Schmitz. She then breaks his heart by deserting him. Michael is emotionally torn by this incident and consequently develops a subconscious obsession with her.

Years after the mysterious disappearance of Hanna, Michael marries a woman named Gertrude. ?gGertrude was smart, efficient, and loyal?h (3p 171) yet she never fulfilled Michael in the same way as Hanna had previously. Unknowingly he drove her away through his constant comparisons and dissatisfaction that Gertrude could not be the woman he wanted. ?gI could never stop comparing the way it was with Gertrude and the way it had been with Hanna; again and again, Gertrude and I would hol...

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how memory is a powerful concept. when an individual undergoes traumatic situations, the ramifications of these actions seep into their psyche unknowingly.
  • Analyzes how the novel ensnares both heart and mind. michael berg, 15, finds himself emotionally and sexually attached to hanna schmitz and develops a subconscious obsession with her.
  • Analyzes how michael marries a woman named gertrude years after the mysterious disappearance of hanna.
  • Analyzes how the helpless nature of michael's actions show how much hanna has affected his subconscious.
  • Explains that michael subconsciously desires hanna's presence after her death. michael dreams of hannia while travelling through the countryside to bid her final wishes.
  • Describes how they dreamed of hanna and themselves in a house in the autumn-blazed hills that were lining their route.
  • Analyzes how the interior narration allows the focus to hold a contemplative and introspective view of michaels thought patterns. he remembers his dreams and notes them as being irrational and beyond all reason of reality, yet he finds himself yearning for her still.
  • Analyzes how the germans cannot forget the horrific actions of wwii, as with michael's link to hanna, because the tragic events are imprinted on the subconscious minds of every member of society.
  • Analyzes hanna's guilt about her cruel and unethical acts towards the jewish women and children that were in her care, and her desperation to rid herself of these memories as she commits suicide.
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