You must be aware that telling a story is a complex negotiation between author and reader, involving the artificial creation of a temporary reality. The skilful reader is both inside this reality, responding to it – and outside, observing it.
Narration, the telling of a story, demands that the reader falls into step with the narrator – and this means that the author (narrator and author can be distinct, as in this case) has to set the rhythm, the rules by which the story is to be understood.
Fatelessness: Narrative Techniques


Basic Observations
In Fatelessness the story is told from a first´s person point of view.
The narrator’s view
First person narration inevitably provides us with a specific vision of the story. The narrator’s personality will select details and distort what we see – and skilful reading must take this into account, judging the relative truth of what the narrator tells us.
Read the following passage from the novel “The curious incident” and analise it. Answer the questions provided.
Read the passage (hand-out given by your teacher) from the novel Fatelesness and analise it. Answer the questions provided below.
1. What does this tell us about how Gyuri´s mind works?
2. What do most 13-year-old children choose to describe? and why? what do they see?
3. What part does language play in the way Gyuri selects his perceptions?
4. Based on the whole novel and considering the story´s narration view, how reliable is this passage in relation to the rest of the story?


Reading Images

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More examples

Literary Analysis of Chapter 2: REVISION

1. Title of selection: “Fatelessness” – Chapter 2

2. Author: Imre Kertész

3. Genre: Autobiographical Novel

4. Setting: Budapest. Most of the action in this chapter takes place in the neighbourhood where Georg lives, at his mother’s house and some family friends’ house (The Steiners’ and the Fleischmanns’).

5. Historical Context: German Occupation of Hungary during the Second World War. Jewish people are forced to live within the standards and laws of the Nazi regime:
“Aircraft often come over to bomb the city, and since then they have brought in still newer laws about Jews. For the last two weeks I myself have been obliged to work” (…) “Under any other circumstances those wearing yellow stars are prohibited from traveling outside the city limits” (p28). “She (Georg’s stepmother) has been ordered to close the shop, since those who are not of pure blood are forbidden to engage in commerce” (p.29). “Jews would have to make do with smaller rations in the domain of food supplies” (p30) “…Those with yellow stars are only permitted to show themselves on the street up to eight o’clock” (p31)

6. The author wrote this piece to (author’s purpose): Give account of the first days of Georg’s new life without his father living with them. There are lots of historical references regarding the way Jewish people were forced to live that intend to contextualize the outburst of strong emotions and feelings in some of the characters (such as Georg’s mother, Annamarie and the older sister that lives in the same neighbourhood)

7. The main idea of this peace is: to show Georg’s transition from being a boy with no worries to a working young man experiencing the blossoming of juvenile love and the effects of the Nazi regime on Jewish life in Budapest.

8. The message (or theme) of this selection which the author would like us to “take away” is: that “differentness” is a matter of perspective, and the fact that one might feel different should not bring us down.

9. Characters:
Protagonist(s): Georg Koves
Antagonist(s): Nazi Regime (as a symbolic presence)
Static Characters: Mr Sütó
Dynamic Characters: Georg, Annamarie
10. Did the author use any special literary devices in this selection such as: personification, metaphor, simile, foreshadowing, suspense, flashback, imagery, humour, poetic sound devices such as rhyme, etc. List and give specific examples.

A. The story “The Prince and the Pauper” about a prince and a beggar who physically look exactly the same and swap places, is used by Georg as an allusion to the idea of acknowledging one’s “differentness” in terms of the circumstances that you are forced to live: (pp. 36 and 37) “Then again, I had also read a book, a sort of novel, not long ago. A beggar and a prince…”
The narrator uses this example to clarify his point of view towards the Jewish state of being “different” as a merely circumstancial event that should not bring them down, in opposition to what the older neighbouring sister thinks. It is most likely used to represent the lightness of thought and somehow naïvety of the main character regarding the treatment that Jewish people received due to the Nazi Regime.

B. The narrator uses a flashback to tell his first love encounter with Annamarie (p.32) “The incident occured the day before yesterday…” This technique is likely used by the author to give it a sense of remembrance, to show the importance that this event gained in his heart and mind and that now lives as a memory.

11. What was the author’s “tone” towards the subject/person/idea he/she wrote about?

The author’s tone while retelling the events from chapter 2 is quite matter-of-fact and straight-forward:
“This evening too I was with her in the other room to look at the Fleischmanns’ ornamental fish, because in truth we have frequently been in the habit of looking at them at other times anyway. This time, of course, that was not quite the only reason for us to got here. We made use of our tongues as well” (p33) He shows himself very direct when giving account of the events that took place when he met with his mother, his first love encounter (like in the quote above), his awkward discussion with the neighbouring older sister, and his first quarrel with Annemarie.

12. What “point of view” was this piece told from? List clues that indicate this.

The point of view used was 1st person, as it is a recount of personal events in the narrator’s life. “Already two months have passed since we said good bye to Father (…) For the last two weeks I myself have been obliged to work” (p27)

13.List the conflicts in this section (internal and/or external)

External: Georg vs his mother: on the subject of “belonging” and “attachment”. “…my mother was badgering me about what kind of life I want to live, because in her view all that matters are my wishes and whether or not I love her:” (p31) Georg’s mother wants him to move with her and abandon his stepmother, moreover given the new circumstances (both Gerog’s father and his mother’s husband have been sent to labour camps)
Internal: Gerog’s internal struggle on what to do regarding his mother’s feelings “I came away feeling rather troubled: naturally I could not allow her to go on supposing that I didn’t love her, but then on the other hand I could not take entirely seriously what she had said about the importance of my wishes…”(p31)
External: Georg vs older sister (Annamarie’s friend): “Still, there was something in her line of thought that somehow exasperated me; in my opinion, it’s all a lot simpler” . this conflict arises from the clash of views on the concept of “differentness” and why people “hate” Jews.

Quotes of interest:
1. Georg (about his father’s departure): “…something choked in my throat too, though it was not tears, more a kind of queasiness. I would have rather my father had no longer been here. It was a truly lousy feeling, but it came over me so distinctly that it was all I could think of, and right then I became totally confused. I would have been quite capable of crying right then, but there wasn’t time for that because the guests arrived” p.15

2. Uncle Lajos to Georg: “You too,” he said, “are now part of the shared Jewish fate (…) an unbroken persecution that has lasted for millennia”, which the Jews “have to accept with fortitude and self-sacrificing forbearance,” since God has meted it out to them for their past sins, so for that same reason from Him alone could mercy be expected, but until then He in turn expects of us that, in this grave situation, we all stand our ground on the place He has marked out for us ” in accordance with our strengths and abilities.” p.20

3. Georg’s visions towards Jewish praying: “I had to recite to Him in Hebrew, a language unknown to me. In order somehow to be able to keep up, I was therefore increasingly obliged to watch Uncle Lajos’s lip movements, so in actual fact out of the whole business all that remained with me of what we mumbled was the sight of those moistly wriggling, fleshy lips and the incomprehensible gabble of a foreign tongue.” pp. 21, 22


Who is Imre Kertesz, the nobel prize winner?

1. Before the interview, the presenter visits a monument to the Holocaust created by the American artist Peter Eiserman. Considering the shapes, architecture and general design, in what ways do you think he represents the reality in the concentration camps?

2. Which is the paradox the presenter mentions regarding Imre Kertész and the place where he lives?

3. Refer to antisemitism before and after Auschwitz according to Kertész.

4. In what way do reminders of the past in historical books make us “much richer”?

5. Which metaphor does Imre use to exemplify the effect of FATELESSNESS on its readers?


What is The Holocaust?

Watching Activity

Listening comprehension questions

1. What is the Great Depression?
2. What happened in January 1933?
3. What was Adolf Hitler´s his original plan?
4. What is propaganda? Can you infer its meaning?
5. How were Jews classified at that time?
6. What example is given to portray discrimination against jews at schools?
7. How did Jews become poor?
8. What are Ghettos?
9. What was life like in the ghettos?
10. How were Jews controlled?
11. What were concentration camps?
12. Who was doctor Josef Mengele? What did he do with Jews and why?
13. What did number tattoos on jews mean for German?
14. What is Auschwitz?
15. How were people talked into going to gas chambers? What strategies did the german use to keep their minds busy?
16. What was Zyklon B ?
17. What other atrocities are shown in the documentary?
18. How did the jews manage to escape?

Who was The Angel of Death?


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