Dr. Joan Kennedy
April 8, 2011
The Hidden Personality
The essay “He Would Never Hurt a Fly: War Criminals on Trial in The Hague”
Written by Slavenka Drakulic in 2004 recaptures the life in Yugoslavia during the ethnic
War and a crucial period of the dissolving country. This period of life was the 60’s and the generation was healthy there was no formula, cotton diapers, and no danger (Drakulic 1118). The essay is told by a native of Croatia, who uses her personal familiarity of people and the community to report using both journalism and fiction. It tells a story of the trial of a trusting young man named Goran Jelisic’ that becomes cultivated by the war going on around him. Goran was a good looking, thirty year old fisherman with the innocent trusting face of a child. He was gentle, reserved, serene, loyal friend, and made people feel safe. Goran transforms into another person throughout time and becomes a monster that people have a hard time believing that one could turn into. The essay shows how his cultural surroundings influenced him to making rash decisions that affected the remainder of his life. When Goran finished high school he maintained a job as a farm mechanic, but was not happy with making so little money. Then he proceeded to forging checks, which landed him in prison for a year and a half. He was released after several months only to be volunteered for war, and at the young age of twenty three Goran became a police officer. He shortly developed in the next Hitler by executing prisoners with no remorse. It was interesting that the journey of Goran’s inner soul began as a young man that was innocent and giving could later turn into such a cold blooded killer. How could one go from helping families in need to enjoying watching prisoners beg for their life and explaining how nice it was to kill (Drakulic 1123)? Goran was on a power struggle and began killing old men, young men, and even
Cited: Slavenka Drakulic’ “He Would Never Hurt a Fly." Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Eds. John Schib and John Clifford. 3rd ed. New York: Bedford/ St. Martins, 2006, 1117-1125.