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Abstract

German author Martin Walser paints a thrilling story of human identity in his 1978 novel, Ein fliehendes Pferd (Runaway Horse). Nothing in the story is completely black or white, even in the personalities of the dichotomous characters Helmut Halm and Klaus Buch. But the novel does offer an implicit opportunity for both characters, should they risk the first step towards change in their lives. My analysis compares the similarities and differences between these two main characters’ “escape attempts,” investigates the meaning of the main theme (the runaway horse), and interprets the intentional ambiguity of the novel’s ending. Finally, I come to the conclusion that all these factors point toward the implicit opportunity structured into the whole story. I argue that the middle way between the two characters’ polarizing lifestyles is the right solution for them both, as was Walser’s masked intention with an epigraph from Søren Kierkegaard.

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