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Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal

Abstract

History is not only found in textbooks. Historical fiction often utilizes depictions of historical events as a backdrop or plot device for a fictional story, and for many people, this is their only exposure to certain periods or events in the past. This essay looks at the validity of using fiction as historical evidence by analyzing Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone portrayal of German life in World War II and comparing it to academic sources. It argues that a novel evokes empathy by juxtaposing an imagined story alongside historical facts; however, the fictional account can also create a false idea of the reality of these historical events. The essay explores the implications of simplifying reality, the humanization of facts, and the influences these effects have on the reader.

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