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The Women in the Castle


A nuanced portrait of war, and of three women haunted by the past and the...
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Discuss The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck:
How did each woman's past influence how they reacted to the rise of Nazi Germany?

Created: 02/10/18

Replies: 3

Posted Feb. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1485

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How did each woman's past influence how they reacted to the rise of Nazi Germany?

How did each woman's past influence how they reacted to the rise of Nazi Germany? Did Marianne's privilege make it easier for her to be an active resister? Why was Benita dazzled by the Nazi's pageantry? How did Ania's childhood influence her feelings toward Hitler?


Posted Feb. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 205

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RE: How did each woman's past influence how they reacted to the rise of Nazi Germany?

Past here can be seen as a matter of how their class background influenced their reaction -- as that seemed to determine how much they knew, and how soon they realized, about what was going in. Benita is a largely uneducated rural villager of a relatively poor family; she is apolitical, ignorant and content to show off her uniform and model German womanhood, and she's not interested in letting Connie open her eyes to the truth; he's just a handsome officer who can give her a good lifestyle. Ania is educated but sheltered as the daughter of a doctor; she wants to escape an oppressive home and latches onto Rainer and his enthusiasm for the cause, wanting to believe in it, deceiving herself for a long time even as a part of her is questioning and critical, and ultimately, she does figure out what's going on. She attempts to escape, again through acts of deception. She guiltily realizes her own complicity, too, in looking back to her childhood betrayal of her young Jewish neighbor, but all of her wits are applied to survival for herself and her sons. Marianne's past we learn less about, but enough to see that she grew up in a privileged world, friends with the upper class men whom she would later associate with as the wife of the Countess's nephew and heir. She's in a position to meet many movers and shakers and figure out what's going on from the start, and then to act out of her moral outrage. Each woman represents some portion of German society as a whole, I gather.


Posted Feb. 22, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paml

Join Date: 10/25/12

Posts: 83

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RE: How did each woman's past influence how they reacted to the rise of Nazi Germany?

Yes, I agree with JLPen77, I think Jessica Shattuck did an excellent job creating these three women and their varied background giving the reader a broad viewpoint of the German experience. I also believe these characters were based on the lives and emotions of real people in the author's life, giving them even more credibility. Marianne was semi removed from the real horrors that Benita and Ania experienced, due to her money and social station. Benita was the most naïve and Ania didn't know how to get out, once she realized how awful it was. I cannot imagine what the women of Germany had to do to survive and try to save their children, we must never forget that.


Posted Mar. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
A.T.

Join Date: 03/04/18

Posts: 4

RE: How did each woman's past influence how they reacted to the rise of Nazi Germany?

Even though all three came from very different backgrounds, I feel in some ways that they acted similarly to the rise of Nazi Germany. All went in to survival mode to protect their children and to stay alive. Marianne became the mother of all of them all, similar to how she was the hostess, the planner, the organizer. Ania was the glue that kept them all together, calling on her background and experience to help take care of their basic needs. And Benita was the child she always was before the war, but now with some horrible experiences that rendered her child-like again.


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