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Abstract

In this paper I examined Christa Wolf’s portrayal of education in East Germany through a study of her book Der geteilte Himmel. The goal of education in the GDR was to create faithful socialist workers. Rita Seidel, the main character in Der geteilte Himmel, chose to study education in order to be with her boyfriend, Manfred, in the city. As she continued her socialist studies, her goal changed to forwarding socialism in the GDR. Additionally, through my research on education in the GDR, it becomes clear that teachers were valuable to the state; this is not portrayed in Wolf’s story. Rita’s family is disappointed in her decision to become a teacher and predicts failure. Lastly, I examined the subjects the students studied. In the GDR, students studied math, science, humanities and Russian. Wolf’s story has Rita study many of these same subjects, in addition to English; interestingly enough Russian is never referenced as a school subject.

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