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The Child’s View of the Third Reich in German LiteratureThe Eye Among the Blind$
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Debbie Pinfold

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245659.001.0001

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The Inadmissible Witness?

The Inadmissible Witness?

(p.184) 4 The Inadmissible Witness?
The Child’s View of the Third Reich in German Literature

Debbie Pinfold

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines some problems in using a child’s perspective and voice, especially in describing the Third Reich. Three major technical problems involved in writing a child narrative are pointed out: the potential unreliablity of the witness, narrative coherence, and achieving the register appropriate to the child. Further, since a child is still acquiring linguistic skills, writers are thus faced with the paradox of a verbally incompetent child ‘writing’ a narrative. However, the explosion of interest in the child’s perspective in post-war German literature suggests that this figure answers deeply felt needs on the part of writers dealing with the Third Reich. In this chapter, this interest in presenting the psychological reality of the child’s limited knowledge and linguistic ability and its compatibility with presenting the full complexities of the Third Reich is discussed through a variety of texts and the solutions they offer to this problem.

Keywords:   child’s perspective, third reich, narrative coherence, german literature, linguistic

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