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Abstract

In his short story, “The Wall,” Jurek Becker uses the narrative perspective of a five year old boy to discuss life in a Jewish ghetto during WWII. Becker has no memory of his own childhood as a five year old in the Lódz Ghetto; yet, wrote as if it could have been his own story. What Becker claims to know about his past is derived from; the experiences of survivors in East-Germany, the cultural memory of the Holocaust, and his father. Becker ironically incorporated a controversial term, “The Wall,” in his title and as the focus of this story. “The Wall” was written in 1977, the year Becker overcame the Berlin Wall and left for West-Germany. The Wall in “The Wall” is possibly a symbol of walls in Becker’s own life. There are many comparable elements between the boy in “The Wall” and Becker. Becker overcame many walls; ghetto walls, concentration camp walls, the Berlin Wall, the walls in his memory, and the walls hindering his voice in literature by the censorship of East-Germany. This analysis discusses these obstacles in Becker’s life and his meaning behind “The Wall.”

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