Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m Professor Travers and it’s my great pleasure to be here with you today. I’m here to discuss how the author of Stasiland, Anna Funder and the director of The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck, extensively employs setting as a way of establishing context. The composers of both texts share a similar aim of illuminating the inhumane nature of the Stasi regime, giving a human face to history by representing a variety of personal stories from this era. Through the settings utilized in telling these stories, the personal and political context and milieu of the time is established.
Funder’s use of setting in Stasiland helps establish the personal context of all the individuals, who were immensely affected by the totalitarian Stasi regime. The setting throughout the non-fiction narrative demonstrates a place of pure nightmare, surveillance, suppression, brutality and abuse of power. Funder accurately represents the context of the cold war in East Berlin and exemplifies the personal values and attitudes of the time. “For eighteen months she was addressed by number and never by name.” The author employs alliteration where she writes “number and never by name”. This evokes a sense of dehumanization to emphasize the inhumane treatment Miriam faced on behalf of the Stasi. Funder highlights how the prison was a place of hardship, brutality and a constant feeling of despair. Funder utilizes descriptive language in “eighteen months” to emphasize the amount of time Miriam was kept in prison. Additionally, it reinforces the failure to recognize the basic human condition of addressing Miriam by her name rather than a number. Therefore, the use of the prison as a setting evokes the physiological damage that establishes the personal context of each individual prisoner.
Similarly in the Lives of Others Von Donnersmarck uses Captain Gerd Weisler’s apartment as a setting, to establish personal context. The setting reinforces...
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