The Swastika Before and After Nazism: Background information when reading Sleeping Alone

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Sleeping Alone


by Ru Freeman

Sleeping Alone by Ru Freeman X
Sleeping Alone by Ru Freeman
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    Jun 2022, 240 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Valerie Morales
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The Swastika Before and After Nazism

This article relates to Sleeping Alone

Reproduction of the Swastika Stone, a stone carving of a swastika-like symbol with rounded, petal-like edges, Ilkley (England) Ru Freeman uses the swastika symbol outside of its prevailing cultural narrative in the landscape of Sleeping Alone's "The Wake," a story about a cult leader who believes he is an incarnation of Christ. He spends his last days in a modest New York City apartment with an ordinary family, in a room called "the Swastika Room." Freeman chooses to represent the swastika here as a symbol consistent with its religious roots, which may come as a jolt, as it is mostly known as a sign of hate used by the Nazis.

Centuries before Adolf Hitler's brutal reign, the swastika was already a popular symbol. Versions of it have been found stamped on Asian and European pottery, vases, textiles and sculptures. It has also been used in artwork by cultures in Africa and the Americas. Swastikas and swastika-like symbols have signified different things to different groups, such as spiritual protection, consecration, wellness and good fortune. In the decades leading up to the Nazis' appropriation of the ...

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