Läsaren och Förintelsen : Gymnasieelevers reception av Imre Kertész Mannen utan öde

by Schneider, Susanne

Abstract (Summary)
The principal aim of this thesis is to investigate the reception of a text about the Holocaust by pupils of a class in upper secondary school. The text is Fatelessness by Imre Kertész, a text which can be seen as a complex account of the Holocaust. The study tries to shed light on the pupils’ reactions to the text and how the reading influenced their image of the Holocaust.The empirical material derives from a qualitative case study consisting of inquiries, interviews observations and written material from lessons, etc. The theoretical basis for the analysis is focusing on Kathleen McCormick’s concept of repertoires. Both texts and readers have repertoires which can match, mismatch or exist in tension with each other. The analysis focuses on parts of the pupils’ reception in form of the question of genre, style and language, the main character and the image of the Holocaust.The study shows that from an overall perspective the repertoires of the pupils and the text do not match. Instead they often exist in tension. The text has different signals about genre which can be interpreted in several ways. Fatelessness was a challenge for the pupils because of its language with long sentences, many descriptions and untranslated words, mainly German. The strongest reactions were to the main character Gyurka, whom the pupils at first interpreted as cold, naive and optimistic. For many of the pupils this image changed at the reading when they started to view his manners as a way to survive the concentration camps. Even though the text was challenging the images the pupils had about the Holocaust in many ways, their images did not change overall. Despite the fact that the pupils saw the reading of the book mainly as homework they were very engaged in lesson discussions.The study points to the importance of context and discussions about what the pupils bring with them when they encounter the repertoire of the literature of testimony, in this case Holocaust literature. It can be important for teachers to have an understanding of their pupils’ repertoires when they select what literature to read in class. The study also indicates that, as McCormick suggests, tension can be the most productive meeting of the repertoires.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Växjö universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:HUMANITIES and RELIGION; Aesthetic subjects; Literature; reception; Förintelsen; didaktik; McCormick; Kertész; svenskämnet; gymnasieelev; Litteraturvetenskap; Comparative literature


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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