Historical Analysis Of Jerzy K


An obscure village in Poland, sheltered from ideas and
industrialization, seemed a safe place to store one¹s most precious
valuable: a 6-year-old boy. Or so it seemed to the parents who
abandoned their only son to protect him from the Nazis in the
beginning of Jerzy Kosinski¹s provocative 1965 novel The Painted Bird.
After his guardian Marta dies and her decaying corpse and hut are
accidentally engulfed in flames, the innocent young dark-haired,
dark-eyed outcast is obliged to trek from village to village in search
of food, shelter, and companionship. Beaten and caressed, chastised
and ignored, the unnamed protagonist survives the abuse inflicted by
men, women, children and ...

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further than the Polish villages of 1939, the novel¹s implications
extend to all of us. Not only did Hitler¹s stain seep into even the
smallest crannies of the world at that time, it also spread beyond
limits of time and culture. Modern readers, likewise, are implicated
because of our humanity. The conscientious reader feels a sense of
shame at what we, as humans, are capable of through our cultural
mentalities. That is one of the more profound aspects of Kosinski¹s
work.
It is this sense of connectedness between cultures, people, and ideas
that runs through the book continuously. While the ³backward²
nonindustrialized villages of Poland seem at first glance to contrast
sharply with ³civilized² Nazi Germany, Kosinski shows that the two
were actually linked by arteries of brutality and bigotry. Both
cultures used some form of religious ideology to enforce a doctrine of
hate upon selected groups whom they perceived to be inferior.
Totalitarian rhetoric and Nietzschian ...

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witnesses a jealous miller gouging out the eyes of his wife¹s ³lust
interest,² an otherwise innocuous 14-year-old plowboy whose only sin
was in staring too fixedly at a woman¹s bosom:

³And with a rapid movement such as women used to gouge out the rotten
spots while peeling potatoes, he plunged the spoon into one of the
boy¹s eyes and twisted it.
³The eye sprang out of his face like a yolk from a broken egg and
rolled down the miller¹s hand onto the floor. The plowboy howled and
shrieked, but the miller¹s hold kept him pinned against the wall.
Then the blood-covered spoon plunged into the other eye, which sprang
out even faster. For a moment the eye rested on the boy¹s ...

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Added: 6/29/2006 09:52:21 PM
Category: English
Words: 2499
Pages: 10

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