100%(2)2 out of 2 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 4 out of 11 pages.
Sokol 1Caroline SokolMr. HuckAP Literature - Period 65 September 2018Death in Venice: Bridging the Gap Between Love and Death1.Part One: Notesa.Provide specific details about a character's evolution or transformation over the course of the plot and explain HOW this change reflects meaning in the novel.i.When the reader is first introduced to the protagonist, Gustav von Aschenbach, the distinguished and well respected German writer, it is evident that he is straight-laced, established, and takes himself and his work way too seriously. Mann introduces him on the first page, writing that in his work he is, “Overstrained by the difficult and dangerous labor of the morning hours, which precisely at this moment called for extreme circumspection, discretion, forcefulness and exactitude of the will…” (Mann 1). By describing Aschenbach’s work as “dangerous labor” shows the reader that to him, writing is like going to war or working in a coal mine; writing is that tedious and essential to Aschenbach. He sees himself as machinery: cold, stoic, made for the sole purpose of his craft. Aschenbach is “unable to restrain the continued operation of the productive machinery within him” (Mann 1). This ironic comparison of his art and his “machinery” is what characterizes Aschenbach as someone who takes himself too seriously as soon as the reader is introduced to him,
Sokol 2in the second sentence of the novel. ii.As the novel progresses Aschenbach finds himself entranced by the young boy he has spotted all over Venice: Tadzio. He is constantly moving back and forth between simply admiring his beauty and seeing him as a sexual being. Becoming obsessed and enthralled by the presence of the fourteen year old boy, the center of his existence shifts from his work to the feelings he has for Tadzio. In the midst of Aschenbach’s admiration blossoming “ His sleep was irregular; the deliciously uniform days were separated by brief nights filled with pleasing disquiet. He retired early, it istrue, because at nine, when Tadzio has vanished from the scene, the day seemed over to him” (Mann 39). Tadzio is as essential to him as the sun is essential to the earth, determining when the day has come to an end. Even more since Aschenbach seems to revolve around him instead of his work. iii.The final transformation of Aschenbach’s character is presented almost literally to the reader when he is seen at the end of the novel wearing makeup and ridiculous clothing to make himself seem more attractive to Tadzio. Mann describes this process of literal, cosmetic transformation by writing:looking further down, he saw a lightly applied, gentle carmine appear where the skin has been brownish and leathery; he saw his lips, which has just been anemic, now pouting in a shade of raspberry; he saw the furrows in his cheeks and around his mouth, the wrinkles around his eyes, vanish beneath cream and breath of
Sokol 3youth.” (Mann 58)When the reader is first introduced to Aschenbach at the beginning of the story, he is dressed properly, serious, and wholly devoted to his work. At