Date of Thesis

5-10-2017

Thesis Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Harold Schweizer

Second Advisor

Michael Drexler

Third Advisor

Mai-Linh Hong

Abstract

This project explores the role of remembrance, and considers how literary and cinematic representations of the Holocaust are at once productive and problematic. Specifically, I am interested in how the tripartite interaction of memory, representation, and remembrance leads either to fatigue and/or to exhaustion. In my appropriation of these terms, fatigue is mostly passive, and may lead to aversion and complacency, whereas exhaustion is mostly active, and thus leads to more productive remembering and criticality. The first chapter considers the historical dimensions of Holocaust fatigue, and examines what it took to cultivate a salient Holocaust "consciousness" in America. The second chapter presents close readings and textual analyses of six disparate texts which represent and remember the Holocaust in uniquely different ways. In the first half of the second chapter, I analyze "popular" representations such as The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi, and Night by Elie Wiesel. In the latter half of the chapter I analyze less "conventional" textual renderings of the Holocaust including Maus by Art Spiegelman, "But Lidice Is in Europe" by František Kraus, and "This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen" by Tadeusz Borowski. The third chapter, offers aesthetic and moral analyses of two Holocaust films, including Steven Spielberg's 1993 film, Schindler's List and Roberto Benigni's 1997 film, Life Is Beautiful. Ultimately, it is my hope that this thesis (and the untidy dialectic between fatigue and exhaustion) will facilitate, rather than foreclose, discussions about how we speak, teach, write, and assume to "know" the history of the Holocaust, as well as how we understand past and present occurrences of genocide, broadly.

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