Today here, tomorrow not.

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"I wish there was nothing to teach about," states Dr. Rosen.

Tonight I attended a lecture by Dr. Alan Rosen, Professor of Holocaust / Jewish literature.. With his warm, humorous personality, he brought like to such a darkened topic. Upon walking in, I was handed a packet of poetry/ prose to which we later dissected and discussed.

One of the first questions that he asked us was what we thought literature was. Many people stated that literature exhumed realism through the usage of metaphors, similes, etc., while others stated that it was the beauty of language that allowed us to experience. Then, he defined what literature was to those in the Holocaust. It was an art, a way out. Normal symbols that we would view as death, were actually symbols of hope. For example, in I Lie in This Coffin, the coffin represents sanctuary rather than death. He symbolizes life, for in that moment of time, it protected him from the Gestapo. Other works that we looked into were Deathsfugue, Slain with Hunger, and Maus I and II.

Out of all of the literary works that we discussed, I would say that Deathsfugue was my favorite. Plus, it went along with today's lecture in class. The poem starts out "Black Milk of daybreak we drink it an evening..." I found it interesting that the author decided to start with an oxymoron. One that takes a nourishing, life giving source and then contrasts it with darkness. Even more interesting is the fact that there is no punctuation. I believe that its absence is because of the fast paced movement in the poem itself. There is so much happening in the scene, that maybe the author wanted you to focus sorely on what was happening, without missing a breath. Another example could also be that without the commas and exclamation points, one is focusing solely on the words at hand. Even though you don't see them, you still know when to shout, when to whisper. You feel the poem. Punctuation is a symbol for civilization. Without it, one just has discourse, which perfectly describes the era of the Holocaust

3 Comments

topsy kratt said:

It is plagiarism when you do not site your sources, or just call them your own ideas!

Stephanie, I'm not sure what Topsy Kratt is talking about.

Probably that comment was left by someone doing homework on one of the texts you discussed, and the commenter is ticked off because your entry isn't what he or she hoped to find.

For the record, I attended the same talk that Stephanie did. Her blog clearly identifies Dr. Rosen as the speaker, she accurately summarizes the part of the discussion she talks about here, and she offers some opinion.

Steph - thanks for putting this on your blog, I was unable to go, though I really wanted to, and it was nice to read what you had to say about it.

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