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Fatelessness Paper

Fatelessness Paper - Jim Stanley Prof Youngblood HIST 114...

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Jim Stanley Prof. Youngblood HIST 114 October 28, 2009 Gyogry’s Examination of his “Jewishness” in Fatelessness The autobiographical novel Fatelessness was published in 1975 by Imre Kertesz, a Hungarian Jew from Budapest who survived the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps as a teen is about a 15 year old boy named Gyorgy Koves, and his experiences both in the concentration camps, and after his release. Throughout the novel, Gyorgy is faced with situations that conflict with his view of what being a Jew means. From the beginning of the book when his uncle prays with him when his father leaves for the camps to the end when he is having trouble adjusting to life outside the camps, Gyorgy regularly encounters situations that make him reassess his understanding of his Jewishness. While Gyorgy certainly develops his relationship with his Jewish faith while in the camps, when the book ends, the process is not complete; this paper will examine the events that changed Gyorgy’s understanding of his faith, and why the process is not complete. In the beginning of the book before he is taken to the camps, Gyorgy understands the intellectual concept of Judaism, however his self-image is that he is a Hungarian. The first two events that elucidate and refine Gyorgy’s understanding of his Jewishness occur during the time immediately surrounding his father’s departure for the labor camps. The
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first of these events is the discussion he has with his Uncle Lajos at his father’s “going away party”. In this discussion, it appears that Gyorgy still considers himself very much a child, and not responsible for understanding his religion.
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