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January 29, 2022, 06:26:17 am

Author Topic: Section A - Stasiland  (Read 4728 times)  Share 

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Section A - Stasiland
« on: October 25, 2014, 05:03:01 pm »
Hey guys would love some feedback, cheers

‘Stasiland shows that no one can ever be free from the horrors of tyranny. To what extent do you agree?’
Anna Funders Stasiland explores the impact and difficulty in moving on from ones past, as a result of the Stasi regime. It is evident that each subject deals with this in their own way and has been clearly impacted by the Stasi in one way or another. Funder attempts to portray this impact through the uncovering of her subjects stories through the use of literary journalism, contrasting the differing effects between the direct victims of the GDR era and the ex-Stasi officers themselves. This is evidently seen through the way in which Miriam and Frau Paul struggle to deal with their past, whilst Herr Bohnsack proves to be a representation of the struggles the ex-Stasi men dealt with in belonging somewhere post GDR. However, the way that Herr Christian deals with his past shows how everyone copes differently to their past.
Miriam’s story, one of courage and strength, shows her struggle to move on due to the effect the Stasis regime had on her. Miriam’s time in prison depicts her to be strong and courageous due to the indignity of the torture she was faced with, yet the impact remained constant and ongoing long after she left and the GDR had ended. Funder states that “perhaps they beat something out of her she never got back” implying that although she made it through prison, the psychological impact caused her to never be the same. Again, Funder muses that her “past stopped when Charlie died” indicating that a part of Miriam was killed when her husband was, leaving a massive void inside of her that may never be filled, and henceforth showing the clear struggle Miriam was left with in moving on from her past experiences. This void left by Miriam, demonstrates the dehumanising effects the Stasi regime had on its victims and the everlasting grief it caused. Whilst Funder structures the book, beginning and ending with Miriam’s story in an attempt to show personal growth, she states that “the world will never be set to rights until Miriam receives some kind of justice”, insinuating that Miriam will continue to be at a loss, struggling to move on from her past until she finds answers, and thus will never be free from the horrors of what she was forced to endure throughout the Stasi regime.
Frau Paul’s story represents the complicity of her time in the GDR and how the Stasi reign succeeded in impacting its victims for years to follow. The complexity of Frau Paul’s story, and the harsh nature of the decision she was forced to make depict her as an honourable person with high moral values as she wouldn’t have her “soul bought” by the Stasi. Ultimately though, her decision of leaving her son for years, brought about her downfall, in that she has never been able to fully move on and forget her past. Torsten, Paul’s son states that “I’m happy [the wall’s] gone, that there’s so little of it left… it would remind me of the past” demonstrating clearly that the fear that he and his mother still feel of the Satsi. Funder then goes on to say that “the wall persists in Stasi men’s minds as hope it can one day come again, whilst in its victims mind’s as a terrifying possibility” showing that no matter how much time goes on, as long as the memories of their past remain somewhat in their minds, there will always be that fear of a reoccurrence, leaving emotional scarring, and as such showing the immense difficulty felt in moving on from their past. This is ultimately the doing of the Stasi, in that they succeeded in their attempts of total surveillance and control to continue to have a profound impact on their victims and remain a constant potential threat, not allowing them to have peace of mind and be free.
Herr Bohnsack’s story represents the difficulty felt by the ex-Stasi men in their attempts to belong in an era where they are not accepted. Bohnsack is a man full of regret and despair as he evidently states that “what do they want from me..? I can’t stand here and take it all back, undo it all.” The drowning of his sorrows in alcohol depict him to be deep down hurt and affected by what went on in the past and his struggle to be accepted by those around him as he is verbally attacked with calls such as “you arsehole” and “you motherfucker.” As he puts it himself, he is “a man who has fallen between two stools” indicating how he doesn’t want to be associated with the Stasi, yet he is not accepted by the present society either, giving him no sense of belonging and no sense of humanity, in that he belongs nowhere. Whilst he covers this up with his jokes and “smiles, like an uncle with a secret”, Funder sees through this and essentially pities him because of his inability to move on from the past as a result of having nowhere to belong. Bohnsack, a clear example of how difficult the ex-Stasi men found it in finding acceptance, shows the importance of being able to belong somewhere in order to move on from ones past and hence be free from the horrors they faced.
Herr Christian, however, shows how whilst one may feel as though they are free, deep down, their actions show otherwise. Christian’s ability to joke, smile and enjoy recounting his story depict how he doesn’t really have much to feel ashamed of in his past. He states that he was “never ideological” towards the Stasi but argues that he only ever caught those in the wrong, indicating the ironic and contradicting nature of his discussion with Funder. His belief that he only did what he did in order survive through the GDR era, he again contradicts himself with the fact the “I’m pretty much doing the same job now as I did then. My second life”, thus showing that he is doing what he believes he should do not what he feels he has to, therefore living in denial. This indicates that although he thinks he is fine and just does what he does for the sake of it, he is deep down only doing what he knows best, and the fact that he doesn’t admit it shows his inability to move on and become free from his past. This essentially comes down to the Stasi regime and how their time in charge manipulated people into doing what they want them to do.
The exploration of the impact of the past and how it impacts one in moving on is evidently seen through Anna Funders Stasiland. As such, it has been clear that most of her subjects’ difficulty in moving on comes from a direct result of the Stasi regime and their success in psychologically tormenting its victims. This impact is seen to have devastating effects on not only its direct victims, but the even the ex-Stasi men through the way that it continues to impact the way they live their lives. This has been made clear in the way that Miriam has struggled to fill the void left from the death of her husband, the way in which Frau Paul and her son remain fearful over the possibility of a reoccurrence, Herr Bohnsack’s inability to find a sense of belonging and how Herr Christian is unable to admit the effect he felt from the GDR. All in all, Funder’s uncovering of her subjects pasts shows the immense impact felt by all involved in the GDR era, and as such, it can be clearly seen how difficult it is to move on from and be free from ones past.