An example of how people try to face the aftermath

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- An example of how people try to face the aftermath, using fancy stuff to cover the truth o Not really dealing with the real problem, just running away from the truth Frau Kramer: displacement (removal of someone) signifies how Beckmann feels about his return and how displaced he is from his old life in Germany - Disappointment: thinking his last resort, family, will always be there for him but in the end they too are gone. Because of her, he doesn’t have a home, the last straw - She’s patronizing, pitying and good-natured o A possibility that she might take Beckmann in since she is in his parents old home and she’s nice but even she rejects him Forces Beckmann to believe that he has no more doors open and no hope 1. Undertaker - Death - the new God people believe in - profiteer, fat, obscene, belching, gormandizing = eating well - doesn’t take death seriously. Sees Beckmann/another man dead, “so what?” just another one kind of attitude - Cold attitude, in contrast to the old man who’s weeping after the dead because he cares about “his children” who are dying 2. Old Man - God (in whom no one believes any more) - father (my children!) - weak, impotent, shattered Death is stronger than God 3. The Elbe - river - old woman - ugly, dirty, stinking of oil and fish - old like life on earth itself - represents a) principle of life, ever flowing (even if individuals die, life itself continues) b) a method of dying (drowning) - speaks only in dreams (= Beckmann’s subconscious will to live?) The force of life is stronger than the power of death 4. The Other One - positive anti-hero to Beckmann, the negative hero - persistent courage (“yes”), hope (“tomorrow”), optimism, his former (pre-war) self
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- same as Elbe = force of life, but on a more personal level - the ‘original,’ undamaged Beckmann: “the one from yesterday. The one from long ago.” 2. What is the function of Beckmann’s gasmask glasses and how do the other characters in this play react to them? The glasses are part of the war; he sees everything through this perspective. He can’t take them off because the war has shaped him and formed his identity. He’s unable to live in the present. - Wears it himself as well and sees everything through the war’s aspect o Can’t dissociate himself from the war o He is tainted with this trauma and doesn’t see the life the same way anymore - Distorted (117): represents the distorted after effects of the war = destroyed during war like how war destroyed everyone’s life in some way - His memories of the war “civilian glasses got shut to pieces” = civilian life Reminder of the war, can’t take off the glasses (guilt &responsibility) For other people it’s a reminder of the war, which is painful because they lost and it brings back painful memories.
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  • Winter '14
  • Beckmann, Mathilde von Zahnd

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Christopher Reinemann
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