Philosophy and Literature
In Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, former Nazi perpetrator Hanna Schmitz commits suicide, and scholars have not yet answered the question why. When Michael visits Hanna's cell after her death, he notices books on her shelf by Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, Tadeusz Borowski, Jean Améry, Rudolf Höss, and Hannah Arendt. By citing works from these authors, I argue that Hanna kills herself because she discovers that Michael has become what she once was. I also demonstrate that through her suicide, Hanna fulfills a major demand found in the works of Améry, and by fulfilling that demand, Améry and Hanna are united.
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Lackey, Michael. 2018. "The Art of 'Reading-To' and the Post-Holocaust Suicide in Schlink's The Reader." Philosophy and Literature 42.1:145-164.