Now that we’ve wrapped up our screenings of Heimat, I thought you might find it helpful to see the Simon family tree, which can help us remember how all the various characters were related. The image below comes from the book Heimat – Eine deutsche Chronik that Reitz published in 1985, shortly after the first run of his series on German television.
As you can see, there’s a final row of great-grandchildren that appear only in the last three episodes.
Although we concluded our unit on Heimat, there are still three more episodes remaining, which cover almost 40 years from the end of the Second World War to 1982. These episodes will remain accessible to you via the Hesburgh Library streaming video service until the end of the semester. After that, you would have to watch them on DVD in the library’s audio-visual center on the second floor.
As you can imagine, the structure of these episodes is looser than that of some of the ones we watched recently, and they are also longer. All in all, they most closely resemble the very first episode we watched, which covered the Weimar years.
Der Amerikaner. Where’s his home? The viewer sees Schabbach as the home of Paul’s family, but Paul himself is divorced from it by years of experience. We don’t really see him while he’s in America; he only now appears in his tailored suit and expensive car, complete with chauffeur. What we do hear of his story is only business. He speaks proudly of how he opened his own factory and how it has grown to comprise eight hundred workers, but it takes multiple queries to force him to admit that he has a woman (whether a wife or otherwise isn’t stated) in America. He entertains the town by throwing a party, at which he gives a rather pompous speech. He returns home as a wealthy man, and a patronizing one at that. He claims that he can help the town with his wealth from America but he does little to effect that claim; he seems more prone to showcase his wealth at every turn. He acts more like a visiting celebrity than a traveler returning home. Continue reading
Despite being the end to this story, this last section leaves many thoughts to be analyzed and developed. In the final pages of the book, the kid begins to be referred to as “the man”. During the violence and trials that were experienced in the novel, did the kid change? Could this be seen as a deeper indication of his maturity throughout the story? At this point, he seems to no longer engage heavily in the senseless violence that plagued earlier chapters. An important detail to note is that he wears Brown’s necklace. I see this as a representation of his violent past and how he no longer lets it control his actions. Is it safe to say that the kid has grown into a man maturity-wise and physically, or do you think McCormick had another purpose in changing his title/status?
Long ago, back in episode one, back when Eduard was still a bachelor, there was a member of the Simon family by the name of Paul. Do you remember him? In those days Wilfried Wiegand was just a goofy boy who kicked over Herr Glasisch’s bicycle. But by the time the year 1939 comes around, the viewers of the Heimat have hardly seen a glimpse of brother Paul, and Wilfried has grown into a surprisingly austere adult whose sense of humor must have gone along with Paul to America. In episode five, the memory of Paul resurfaces when a letter of his arrives at the Simon home. Later on in episode six, Wilfried Wiegand seems to have wiped clean any memory of his childish past. For both of these characters, disappearance or at least a drastic change in appearance plays a significant role in how the other characters respond to them. In the process, the once loyal father and the foolish schoolboy become ghosts who lose touch with their former selves. Is it fair for these characters to abandon their pasts so suddenly, and in the case of Paul, expect to resume just where they have left off? Can either of the two hope to return to their previous lives? Continue reading
Cormac McCarthy’s writing style and content, although fascinating to a range of readers, requires extremely conscious and careful reading because everything in his text seems to have a purpose, or does it? Is McCarthy’s wide range of vocabulary included to vaunt excessively about his knowledge, or does each reference have a purpose contributing to the text as a whole?
Good old Cormac McCarthy set up a trap, and I was definitely caught right in it after reading chapters 14-17 of Blood Meridian. Let’s think back to the first blog post on Blood Meridian Lindsey posted titled “Blood, Gore and Death in Blood Meridian”, I think we can all agree that blood, gore and death dominated our first impression of the book. Is there a purpose for all of the violence, what were the characters’ intent in committing these acts? Here lies the trap that McCarthy developed, he trapped the Kid in violence, and trapped the reader into becoming accustomed to reading about violence.
One of my first assumptions was that McCarthy incorporated this to show that the kid was so immersed in violence, or at least violent thoughts from a young age that he became “numb” to it, as Kristina stated in the earlier post. Well now that we’re three- Continue reading
I couldn’t help but notice the many different faces of Lucie in these episodes. The most obvious one that really bothered me was when she was “sick with worry” when Maria came over. Lucie was dramatically moaning with her handkerchief draped over her face, and then enthusiastically stands up on her chair shouting her complaints, then immediately resumes moaning. It’s clear that she’s not actually sick, but she has likely achieved her goal of sympathy from Maria and even been invited to have dinner with the family. We see another form of Lucie when her old friend from Berlin, Martina, visits. Lucie now portrays herself and her new life in Hunsruck as very put together and successful. She flaunts her maid and villa, and seems to speak down to Martina as if she’s above their past, saying, “people don’t even think those thoughts here.” We could almost believe that Lucie’s efforts aren’t actually to convince Martina how thoroughly she’s enjoying her new life, but actually herself. Yet another side of Lucie is shown when she has the opportunity to host three important Nazi officers. Lucie plays the good German housewife role in preparation for their appearance. Lucie is probably the most transparent when she is with Eduard. All she can talk about with him is how to get him to advance within the Nazi party.
***NOTE: This post was written by Annalise, but for some reason I don’t have posting access on the blog so I am posting under Lily’s username*****
Despite the fact that in these chapters of Blood Meridian we receive a brief reprieve from the otherwise constant violence that graced almost every page of the first section, it is by no means eliminated from chapters 7-12. We still are experiencing the same shocking moments of scalper violence, from the old woman in chapter 7, to the innocent babies and children in chapter 12. As McCarthy continues in this manner to expose us as readers to the reality of the violence during this time, the focus turns and we begin to gain more insight into the characters’ unique personalities as well as their emotions and thoughts as they travel with the company. Continue reading
The third paper topics are now online and can be downloaded via the “Handouts” section of this blog. Remember that your third paper will require you to conduct a small amount of independent research; start this early and don’t put it off until a few days before the deadline!
I also received a query about how you are supposed to cite the Yule/Cordier edition of Marco Polo, since the electronic version on Project Gutenberg does not contain page numbers. My response would be to not worry about it too much and to simply leave out the page numbers. Anybody who wants to double-check your quotations will easily be able to do so even without page numbers, given the nature of the Yule/Cordier text. As for citation formats, consult your handout as well as the completed placemarks that are already online.
I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I found this episode of Heimat to be quite different than the last. In this episode, there is a distinct idea of things changing fast. Paul’s siblings, Pauline and Eduard, are moving away to start their new lives in different towns, his own children are growing up, and the political atmosphere of Germany is radically different. No longer is the action, or at times lack thereof, in the episode focused solely on Schabbach. This seems almost contradictory to the title of the episode, “The Centre of the World.” But we’ll get to that.