The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

The Depiction of Nationhood Within The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum 12th Grade

Alexander Crummel once said that “a sense of responsibility which comes with power is the rarest of things” (n.d.). This is a concept which is explored within Heinrich Boll’s 1975 novel The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum as Boll demonstrates the way power has been abused within the nation of West Germany during the Cold War era. He achieves this through his use of literary devices, such as symbolism, syntax, diction, metaphor, alliteration and dramatic irony, as he reveals the merciless persecution of Katharina Blum at the hands of the police, the press and the patriarchy after she falls in love and spends a single night with the criminal Ludwig Gotten. The author makes apparent the corruption that can accompany power as the young woman’s rights are violated by an unjust police force, her reputation is ruined by a capitalist press and her beauty is sexualised by the patriarchy. It is therefore in order to reveal the corrupt nationhood of West Germany that Boll follows Katharina through her hardships and her absolute powerlessness as she is tormented by the very structures meant to support her and the society that surrounds her.

In his narrative, Boll highlights the corruption of West Germany’s police and contradicts the popular...

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