Appelfeld Wiesel Kosinski Term Paper
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Badenheim resort is the usual resort of the frivolous 20s and 30s, with cafes, casinos, entertainment locations, etc. The middle class Jew that comes here is in no way different from any middle classed individual that wants to relax during the holiday, close to his family and friends, involved in vacation activities, chatting to the other members of the community on holiday, enjoying the parks and leisure activities in the resort.
In this sense, I am not sure that being a Jewish guest in the resort is much differentiated from being a non-minority guest here. Perhaps this is the entire sense of Appelfeld's work: in a year when the Second World War is due to start, in a period when Jewish persecutions are already at a significant level, with ghettos formed across Europe and with serious limitations on Jewish activities, one can still enjoy a quiet holiday as a Jew.
As we know from the book, at a certain point, the Department of Sanitation comes to the resort and every Jew is forced to register with them. The Department of Sanitation is supposed to have a simple objective: inspect cleanliness. However, this is only the obvious meaning. In fact, the Department of Sanitation is directed at racial and ethnical "cleanliness." In this sense, we are to see that the registration of Jews with the Department of Sanitation is, in fact, their registration with an authority that will pursue their fate in the future and, from this point forward, even if they may have been Germans or Austrians for hundred of years, their last name denote their Jewish roots. Registration here symbolically means the star of David on each Jew in the resort.
3. Perhaps, from a symbolic point-of-view and from the perspective she brings on what is to follow, Trudy, Martin the pharmacist's wife,
is one of the strongest characters. Of course, she is sick and has different hallucinations, but, as Tom Bowden pointed out in an excellent review on the book, she may be compared to the ancient Cassandra and her hallucinations with supernatural abilities of perceiving the future. In her eyes, the world is "transparent, morbid, full of venom," much as it will be for the next six years of the war and of Jewish persecution.
Her presence in the novel is extremely strong because it is so contrasting with the bucolic atmosphere of the resort. Here we have a peaceful community of people relaxing and Trudy, the ancient Cassandra, speaking of the beatings applied to her daughter by her husband, vivid actions in her hallucinations.
4. In the last sentence of the book, Dr. Pappenheim states as follows: "If the coaches are so dirty it must mean that we have not far to go." This shows that, for many Jews, the question of the Holocaust was simply unbelievable and this idea is pregnant throughout the book. Indeed, for the Austrian visitors of the resort, Jews themselves, but assimilated Austrians for a long time, Holocaust does not apply to them. It may be for the Ostjude, but not for them. We may assert, in this sense, that there is a sort of segregation among the Jewish community as well. Ironically, as we know what was to happen, the last sentence confirms the state of utter denial that this community of visitors has practiced throughout the book.
5. In my opinion, madness is used to prophesize some of the things that will be happening in the novel and the two mad characters, Moche the Beadle and Madame Schaechter are the best examples to back this assertion. Indeed, Moche the Beadle escapes from a concentration camp and…
Sources Used in Documents:
1. Appelfeld, Aharon. Badenheim, 1939. Dalia Bilu translation.
2. Wiesel, Elie. Night. Chelsea House Pub. 2001. 190 pages
3. Kosinski, Jerzy. The Painted Bird. Transaction Large Print. 2000
4. Bowden, Tom. Review in The Education Digest. On the Internet at http://www.eddigest.com/html/AAppelfeld.html
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