The Theme Of Physical Abuse In The Night By Bernhard Schlink

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“She put her arms around me, one hand on my chest… ‘That’s why you’re here!’ ‘I...’ I didn’t know what to say. Not yes, but not no either. I couldn’t see much of her, we were standing too close. But I was overwhelmed by the presence of her naked body.” (Schlink 24)

The section of text that this quote is from disgusted and greatly shocked me, not because the two characters were intimate, but because the main character Michael was fifteen and the woman he was intimate with, Hanna, was in her early thirties. The author Bernhard Schlink is able to elicit this response from the reader because the scene is so aberrant and unexpected.

“I had woken up early, dressed quietly, and crept out of the room. I wanted to bring up breakfast and also see
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Hanna had previously been verbally abusive of Michael, but this time she hit him. I am not sure what horrified me more, the fact that she abused him, or the fact that he came crawling back every time, apologizing for thing he had not done so that he could be with her again. The author uses the weight of the concept of physical abuse to evoke feelings of outrage and horror from the…show more content…
He claims to be in love with Hanna, and he is obviously infatuated with her, but at the same time he takes an interest is Sophie, a girl his own age and to whom he can relate. The author uses Michael’s mental conflict to intrigue the reader and make them predict whether or not he will stay with Hanna.

“My body yearned for Hanna. But worse than my physical desire was my sense of guilt. Why hadn’t I jumped up immediately when she stood there and run to her! This one moment summed up all my halfheartedness of the past months, which had produced my denial of her, and my betrayal. Leaving was her punishment.” (Schlink 83)

This part of the text left me ambivalent. When Hanna suddenly disappeared from Michael’s life, part of me was relieved. She had abused him and I found the gap between their ages to be creepy and somewhat perverted. On the other hand, I felt sorry for Michael’s loss. It was cruel of her to leave without giving him any warning or goodbye, and it left him broken. She left him believing that it was his fault that she left. Here the author uses the weight of Hanna’s abandoning of Michael to elicit a response from the

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