The character of Michael Berg in The Reader from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
Uses this style to shock the readers and provide a serious tone. - Influenced by his . Do you think Hanna's and Michael's relationship would have been perceived in a more, less, or same way? the screen. 2. Your goal: Guess how many. and find homework help for other The Reader questions at eNotes. In the early stages of their affair, Hannah is quite manipulative of Michael. ignores Michael in the streetcar when he takes a ride on it with the sole purpose of seeing her. "Leaving was her punishment." Throughout "The Reader" the relationship between Hanna and Michael changes. In Part 1 their relationship begins and.
In effect, Bernhard Schlink is accused of creating a plot to make the public feel in somewhat empathetic towards the character Hanna, who was an SS guard in a Nazi concentration camp. Through Michael, the author transforms the next generation into victims of the actions of the previous generation, as if asking for the acquittal of both.
Paradoxically, the novel portrays a tragic event of German history which unfortunately cannot be changed and the generation of Michael, who experiences persecution and suffers from the remnants of the Holocaust, even though they had no intervention in it or fault.
Thus, reading the book raises several important dilemmas for any reflection on the subject. For example, is it preferable to preserve memory or opt for forgetting? How to use the past to correct future problems, as well as what steps to take to avoid repetition? Bernhard Schlink's The Reader gains actuality, especially if we look closely at the signs of the Mediterranean refugee crisis and the growing political radicalization in several countries.
This is seen at the recent pro-Nazi demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. It can be concluded that similar phenomena may be imminent Ramalheira, In between the lines of the plot In The Reader, Bernhard Schlink confronts generations of war and postwar, through an intimate relationship between Michael and Hanna.
Hanna has two secrets she hid from Michael: The author seems to use the fact that Hanna is illiterate to justify her actions in the past, showing through Michael that if she knew how to read and had access to the books, she could eventually have become a more sensitive and conscious human being. This would make her a more difficult person to be instrumentalized by Hitler's National Socialist machine. Moreover, the pragmatism and the tendency to execute orders with zeal, and without question, which she demonstrated at the trial in court when faced with the question: Why did you commit the crimes?
In fact, Hanna had not been instructed to think, only to perform. In contrast, the author shows in the dialogues of law students with his teacher, that knowledge leads to greater social awareness and internal questioning of good and evil. It may not be involuntary on the part of the author, the fact that Hannah committed suicide when, at last, she learned to read and write. In fact, perhaps after this process, Hanna finally became aware of the evil she had done.
Regarding this, the literary researcher Kim Worthington refers in an article, published by Comparative Literature, that Bernhard Schlink is condemned by some and praised by others for seemingly showing the literary traditional humanist canon as middle education and therefore a degree of self-consciousness which leads Hanna to the guilt of her past actions.
Hanna's late moral education was suggested by the fact that she committed suicide the day before her eventual release from prison and apparently seeks to make amends to her surviving victim through a posthumous monetary donation. Likewise, Jan Assmann and John Czaplicka concluded in an analysis for the New German Critique that the collective cultural memory, with all its traumatic events, allows the society in question to build its future.
The law student, with obvious autobiographical traits, is aware of the evil that Hanna has generated, but as he lived an intense love story with her, he has a hard time hating her.
That is why he helps her, even in prison, to continue her literacy process, given that, he had the confirmation that Hanna was illiterate in court. In the book, Michael felt guilty for having loved a criminal when he was finally convinced of Hanna's involvement in the Holocaust.
These feelings are present throughout the novel which revealed yet another impossible love. Each part takes place in a different time period in the past. Part I begins in a West German city in After year-old Michael becomes ill on his way home, year-old tram conductor Hanna Schmitz notices him, cleans him up, and sees him safely home.
He spends the next three months absent from school battling hepatitis. He visits Hanna to thank her for her help and realizes he is attracted to her. Embarrassed after she catches him watching her getting dressed, he runs away, but he returns days later.
After she asks him to retrieve coal from her cellar, he is covered in coal dust; she watches him bathe and seduces him.
Hanna’s Dominance Over Michael - The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
He returns eagerly to her apartment on a regular basis, and they begin a heated affair. They develop a ritual of bathing and having sex, before which she frequently has him read aloud to her, especially classical literature, such as The Odyssey and Chekhov 's The Lady with the Dog.
Both remain somewhat distant from each other emotionally, despite their physical closeness. Hanna is at times physically and verbally abusive to Michael. Months into the relationship, she suddenly leaves without a trace. The distance between them had been growing as Michael had been spending more time with his school friends; he feels guilty and believes it was something he did that caused her departure.
The memory of her taints all his other relationships with women. Part 2[ edit ] Six years later, while attending law school, Michael is part of a group of students observing a war crimes trial. A group of middle-aged women who had served as SS guards at a satellite of Auschwitz in occupied Poland are being tried for allowing Jewish women under their ostensible "protection" to die in a fire locked in a church that had been bombed during the evacuation of the camp.
The incident was chronicled in a book written by one of the few survivors, who emigrated to the United States after the war; she is the main prosecution witness at the trial.
Michael is stunned to see that Hanna is one of the defendants, sending him on a roller coaster of complex emotions. He feels guilty for having loved a remorseless criminal and at the same time is mystified at Hanna's willingness to accept full responsibility for supervising the other guards despite evidence proving otherwise. She is accused of writing the account of the fire. At first she denies this, then in panic admits it in order not to have to provide a sample of her handwriting.
Michael, horrified, realizes then that Hanna has a secret that she refuses to reveal at any cost—that she is illiterate. This explains many of Hanna's actions: During the trial, it transpires that she took in the weak, sickly women and had them read to her before they were sent to the gas chambers. Michael is uncertain if she wanted to make their last days bearable or if she sent them to their death so they would not reveal her secret.
She is convicted and sentenced to life in prison while the other women receive only minor sentences. After much deliberation, he chooses not to reveal her secret, which could have saved her from her life sentence, as their relationship was a forbidden one because he was a minor at the time.
Part 3[ edit ] Years have passed, Michael is divorced and has a daughter from his brief marriage. He is trying to come to terms with his feelings for Hanna, and begins taping readings of books and sending them to her without any correspondence while she is in prison.
"The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink: Holocaust and conflict of generations
Hanna begins to teach herself to read, and then write in a childlike way, by borrowing the books from the prison library and following the tapes along in the text. She writes to Michael, but he cannot bring himself to reply. After 18 years, Hanna is about to be released, so he agrees after hesitation to find her a place to stay and employment, visiting her in prison. On the day of her release inshe commits suicide and Michael is heartbroken. Michael learns from the warden that she had been reading books by many prominent Holocaust survivors, such as Elie WieselPrimo LeviTadeusz Borowskiand histories of the camps.
The warden, in her anger towards Michael for communicating with Hanna only by audio tapes, expresses Hanna's disappointment. Hanna left him an assignment: While in the U. She can see his terrible conflict of emotions and he finally tells of his youthful relationship with Hanna. The unspoken damage she left to the people around her hangs in the air. He reveals his short, cold marriage, and his distant relationship with his daughter.
The woman understands, but nonetheless refuses to take the savings Hanna had asked Michael to convey to her, saying, "Using it for something to do with the Holocaust would really seem like an absolution to me, and that is something I neither wish nor care to grant. Having had a caddy stolen from her when she was a child in the camp, the woman does take the old tea caddy in which Hanna had kept her money and mementos. Returning to Germany, and with a letter of thanks for the donation made in Hanna's name, Michael visits Hanna's grave for the first and only time.
Style[ edit ] Schlink's tone is sparse; he writes with an "icy clarity that simultaneously reveals and conceals," as Ruth Franklin puts it,  a style exemplified by the bluntness of chapter openings at key turns in the plot, such as the first sentence of chapter seven: Lillian Kremer, and the short chapters and streamlined plot recall detective novels and increase the realism.Matthew & Michael GET MARRIED (preview)
I wanted simultaneously to understand Hanna's crime and to condemn it. But it was too terrible for that. When I tried to understand it, I had the feeling I was failing to condemn it as it must be condemned. When I condemned it as it must be condemned, there was no room for understanding. But even as I wanted to understand Hanna, failing to understand her meant betraying her all over again.
I could not resolve this. I wanted to pose myself both tasks—understanding and condemnation.
But it was impossible to do both. Michael concludes that "the pain I went through because of my love for Hanna was, in a way, the fate of my generation, a German fate. The driver who picks him up is an older man who questions him closely about what he believes motivated those who carried out the killings, then offers an answer of his own: An executioner is not under orders.
He's doing his work, he doesn't hate the people he executes, he's not taking revenge on them, he's not killing them because they're in his way or threatening or attacking them. They're a matter of such indifference to him that he can kill them as easily as not. The man stops the car and asks him to leave. Of the latter, the most important is the book by the death-march survivor that constitutes the basis of the case against Hanna. It is summarized at some length and even briefly quoted, although its title is never given.