Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Feelings Towards Gunter Grass

I had mixed feelings about Grass after learning of his involvement with the Nazi Party as a teenager. At first I was disappointed because I thought he was a hypocrite for telling so many people, not only through his literature but also his interviews/speeches, that they should be ashamed of suppressing their past wrongdoings. Thankfully, (I say thankfully because I really liked Grass's narrative style and in general, as I've said many times, The Tin Drum) in our class discussion today I was able to make more sense of his decision to keep quiet for so long. Amy mentioned how Grass probably had a feeling of self- hatred. It is not only such a strong emotion but also, as teenagers, I feel we can especially relate. We're going through a time of self identification, and many times that process involves mistakes or even noticing parts of ourselves that we don't particularly enjoy. It's definitely difficult to come to terms with such realizations/emotions, and even more difficult to admit them to others. Therefore, I felt a bit of sympathy for Grass's omission of his involvement with the Nazis.

5 comments:

Kincy GIbson said...

I am also sympathetic toward Grass and was shocked when I found out that he was part of the S.A. at first. I then thought about Oskar silently rebelling against the Nazi regime when he says,“He spoke of difficult times, the weak, who must temporarily give way, of resistat that blooms in secret, the phrase “inner emigration” was muttered and that was the parting of the ways for Bebra and Oskar” (Grass 289-90) I think that Grass is an example of a kid who uses "inner emigration" to justify his actions. I think that since he is now an adult he feels self hatred for using his "inner emigration" as an excuse not to oppose the Nazi regime. Maybe Oskar represents the young Grass in a way? They both used "inner emigration" to escape the guilt associated with working with the S.A.

Megan Hoolahan said...

I initially thought that Grass's involvement was hypocritical. However, I now think that it makes him more relatable. I do still believe that he should have come out with this information earlier. It would have made me respect him more. Typically, we uphold critics as being pure and with a clean slate. The fact that he has these regrets in his past makes him more relatable to most of society. If he came out with this information earlier, it would have been more interesting to read a criticism from a former member's point of view.

Miranda Martinez said...

When I found out about Grass's involvement in the S.A., I too was shocked. I couldn't understand (as you said Sam) how someone who preached honesty could be so dishonest. Yet when we discussed Grass's shame, it made sense why he would keep silent about his past. I also agree with Megan about Grass's relatability to the rest of society, had he came out earlier. I too would have found The Tin Drum more interesting to read had I known it was from the perspective of a former Nazi.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I agree with everyone else that he is qualified to comment on Germany's collective guilt because of his past involvement with the SA and SS, but I don't think he should be forgiven so easily. He may be sorry now for what he has done, but his self-disgust does nothing to rectify his actions; he alone made the choice to follow Hitler's horrid rule, and no amount of apologizing can undo that.

Brooke M. Hathaway said...

I feel us being 17/18 years old it is probably much easier for us to sympathize with Grass's participation in the SA. Although none of us have had involvement with the Nazi party (that I know us), I feel that, for me at least, I can understand Grass's "youthful indiscretions."
Also, considering the extensive manipulation the Nazi's achieved, i.e. Goebeles and the Ministry of Propaganda, many young people who weren't involved with the Party in some way probably felt severe isolation.