Flashcards in Stasiland theme of bravery and heroism Deck (17):
Funder's opinion of heroism
Funder doesn’t simply glorify her characters. While she respects their bravery, she’s also skeptical of the concept of heroism itself, and shows how what most people call heroism is often a combination of recklessness, desperation, and pure foolishness.
What does Funder believe courage sometimes is
At various points in Stasiland, Funder shows how her characters’ courage was really a matter of necessity—they were so desperate to protect themselves that they were willing to risk their own safety.
Courage and necessity Julia
Julia stands up to her Stasi interrogator, Major N., when he tries to pressure her into informing on her Italian ex-boyfriend. Julia, a teenager at the time, refuses to comply with Major N.’s request, not exactly because she’s a brave person, but because she has very little left to lose. The Stasi, skeptical of her relationship, have effectively barred her from getting a job of any kind.
Courage and necessity Miriam
Miriam Weber risks her life trying to sneak past the Berlin Wall—not because she’s particularly courageous or heroic but because she knows she’ll be imprisoned and treated cruelly if she stays in East Berlin.
Why did East Germany fall
It practically forced its people to rise up against it. The German revolutionaries were brave, but they also had very little left to lose—marching against Mielke and Honecker was the courageous thing and the right thing, but also the rational thing.
Funder's positive opinion of bravery and heroism
One doesn’t have to be a larger-than-life hero, she suggests, in order to be brave.
Funder's opinion on bravery
Funder further questions the concept of bravery by showing how sometimes this “virtue” is the product of not thinking things through.
Miriam and bravery
Miriam is just a teenager when she risks her life trying to sneak into West Berlin—she’s so young and reckless that she doesn't stop to consider what will happen if she fails
Funder's overall exploration of bravery and heroism
She explores how brave people live with themselves and their choices, often with emotional pain. Funder isn’t criticizing her characters in any way, just because she questions the categories of bravery and heroism doesn’t mean she doesn’t admire the people who risked their safety and happiness. Rather, Funder opts for a more realistic portrayal of these people.
Bluff was called quote
"Julia doesn't know why the Stasi was afraid of them complaining to Honecker. It is one of the very rare occasions when the bluff was called and someone ‘won’ against the Firm."
Bluff was called quote analysis
It’s a mark of the Stasi’s bureaucracy and secretiveness that Julia still can’t explain why her life changed so dramatically. But it also shows that, under the right circumstances, and if pushed to their limits, ordinary East Germans could stand up to the Stasi and win.
Plate skerrick quote
"All the courage I had is in that plate. The whole shitty little skerrick of it. That’s all I had."
Plate skerrick quote
The plate itself is worthless. But it becomes an important symbol of his resistance to the Stasi authority. Koch doesn’t particularly care about it, but out of pride, stubbornness, and reckless courage, he decides to keep it. The plate is a symbol of the tiny forms of defiance that ordinary people found. Many people like Koch showed their defiance in small ways.
Guilt wracked wreck quote
"She may have overestimated her own strength and now she is a lonely, teary guilt-wracked wreck."
Guilt wracked wreck quote analysis
Funder is impressed by Paul’s toughness in the face of the Stasi iHowever, she’s also realistic enough to recognise that Paul isn’t exactly a “hero,”. She acted bravely, but partly because she didn’t really think through the consequences of her actions and the pain and guilt she’d cause herself. Perhaps this reckless disregard for one’s own happiness is the core of what most people would term heroism.
I have been sown
Only my head sticks
Defiant, out of the earth
But one day it too will be mown
Making me, finally
Of this land.