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Stasiland Essay

Example 1

People here talk of the Mauer im Kopf or the Wall in the Head. Discuss how Funder uses symbols to explore key themes in Stasiland.

‘Stasiland’ is a non-fiction text written by Anna Funder and follows the personal recounts and experiences of those who lived throughout the GDR prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the book primarily revolves around the conversations and reflections which Funder holds in relation to these stories, it is the author’s remarkable use of symbolism that enables her to go beyond mere conversation delve into the complexities of not just others but her own experience in Stasiland. The use of physical motifs such as Hagen Koch’s Stasi plate is representative of the unrelenting oppression and control…

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The force for ‘…Plate Re-Procurement…’ established by the Stasi solely to send a message to Koch of their power demonstrates the drastic determination so heavily embedded in the Stasi ethos. The Stasi could not care less for the plate itself – being worth ‘….only 16 marks…’ – but are obsessed with demonstrating their absolute power and control and go to extreme lengths in order to regain what was ‘…rightfully the property of the GDR.’ In this sense, Hagen Koch’s plate is more than just a manifestation of courage and personal triumph but becomes symbolic of the intense oppression and control with which the Stasi operated against their people throughout the GDR.

Funder’s use of symbolism in order to explore themes relevant to her own personal struggle with finding comfort and security within the former GDR is a concept central to Stasiland. The author’s more abstract use of darkness enables Funder to draw parallels between her own difficulty living in the former GDR and those who endured the true terror of the Stasi Regime, particularly in the retelling of Miriam Weber’s attempted escape to West Berlin. ‘It was dark…’ on the Eastern side of the Wall, and ‘…in the west, the neon shone.’ West Berlin is painted as a safe haven, away from the dangerous and frightening ‘dark’ GDR.

 

Example 2

(10, ‘Stasiland’, ‘Stasiland elliedurrancel Stasiland, Practise essay #1 Eleanor Durrance “Although a sense of loss permeates Stasiland it is ultimately an uplifting book” ‘Stasiland’ by Anna Funder is an account. In this study, she interprets an ignored history of everyday people from East Germany through interviewing and collecting stories of witnesses. In many sections of Stasiland, positivity is demonstrated through victims’ courageous stories, however, a sense of loss is always present, overshadowing the optimism displayed in the final chapter.

This feeling Of grief Which belies through the book is shown through Miriam Who loses her freedom at age 16 and later in life her husband Charlie, Frau Paul who loses her son and Klaus Whose career is lost thanks to the Stasi. The way in which Funder structures her text also creates more of a sense of reflection rather than positivity. Miriam Weber experiences much loss during her life in the GDR, and her grief and suffering are displayed as a basis throughout ‘Stasiland’ Miriam experiences her first loss at age 16 when she is imprisoned and loses her freedom.

When Miriam describes almost being drowned. how she was called derogative names by prison guards. he way in which the prisoners were brutal to one another and how she was addressed purely as Juvenile prisoner Number 72S\’ for 18 months, it becomes obvious that Miriam\’s story is horrific and far from being uplifting As Miriam exposes the traumatic events she experienced in Hohenheck prison it is made clear to Funder and the reader that Miriam ‘is brave and strong and broken all at once’.

The grief Miriam experiences is exemplified as she describes how the love of her life, Charlie dies in prison and how she struggles to find out the truth. Four years later in 2000, Funder describes Miriam’s… a maiden blowing smoke in her tower. Sometimes she [Miriam] can hear and smell them, but for now, the best are all in their cages: This gives the reader slight hope that although Miriam is still extremely frail and has no closure from what has happened to her there may be hope for her future.

Although the end of Miriam\’s story is slightly uplifting. the intense scrutiny, constant surveillance and horrific imprisonment Miriam endures overshadows the reaffirming last chapter. Funder\’s interview with Frau Paul shows extreme strength within a victim of the GDR, however, this courage is developed through the temporary loss of her son, Torrsen and the intense scrutiny she experienced throughout this era, Frau Paul\’s story encompasses three chapters of •Stasiland• which highlights the significance of her experiences under the regime.

Brau Paul\’s story of how her baby was sent to the west to receive the right medication and how she had to live with seeing him only four times within three months is gut-wrenching. The readers of ‘Srasiland’ feel a direct sympathy for Frau Paul as she becomes separated from her extremely sick baby, this tact alone creates such a horrific sense of loss which overlooks any optimism shown within Frau Paul\’s story.

The shockingly unsupportive treatment Paul and her husband received from the state when their child was tragically ill gives the reader an insight into the cruelty experienced by victims of the regime. Frau Paul differs from Miriam in the way that she was involved in organized attempts to escape the GDR to be with Torsten. Frau Paul goes to great lengths to explain to Funder that she wasn’t a classic resistance righterwhen she decided to attempt to illegally leave the GDR. just a mother wanting to be with her baby.

The way in Which the Stasi turned Frau Paul from a typical, law-abiding citizen to, in her eyes, a ‘criminal’ is horrific as not only did she lose her son, but also her identity as she is scrutinized and interrogated. Funder uses the chapter ‘The Deal’ to show readers the dreadful choice given to Frau paul by the Stasi interrogators, to act as Stasi bait to catch Michael Hinze, a man Who tried to escape With her Which would enable her to see her son Torsten or refuse their offer.

Frau Paul is shown in her most courageous moment as she ells Funder how she ‘… had to decide against my son, but couldn\’t let myself be used in this way\’. Although Funder and readers view this as an incredible act of bravery it is obvious Frau Paul still carries a feeling of guilt with her leaving her psychologically damaged. Funder revisits Frau Paul in 20m where she is working as a tour guide at Hohenschonhausen prison where her •soul was buckled out of shape, forever\’ as she was sentenced to four years of hard labour.

Although she is working hard to preserve memories of the GDR it is obvious that she has rouble moving forward as her life is still being dictated by the Stasi_ Funder\’s description of Frau Paul as \’… the picture she has of herself is one that the Stasi made for her\’ is Terribly sad and along with her loss, permeates any optimism shown within her account. Although Klaus Renft presents himself as coping with the effects of the GDR and the Stasi, he turns to self-destructing behaviour to cover his inability to handle what has happened.

Klaus is different from every other person interviewed within ‘Stasiland’_ He is Anna\’s drinking buddy and the only ale victim in the text During the time of the GDR Klaus’ band the Klaus Rentt Combo became The most popular band in Eastern Germany, Although Klaus enjoyed being the bad boy’ of the Eastern Bloc, because there was only one record company in the GDR, the lyrics to every one of their songs they set to record were checked over and changed, their career already being dictated by the Stasi_ Klaus describes to Funder how as they toured he observed more and more that the society was built on lies and were so many lies that singing the truth guaranteed them both hero and criminal status’ and how he wanted to scratch the GDR at its marrow’. As Klaus continues his tale, Funder finds it surprising how he is not angry or bitter at what took place as his career is destroyed as the ministry of culture told him his band ‘no longer exists’.

Klaus seems to provide a contrast to Frau Paul and Miriam as he claims he had no interest in material possessions and ‘didn’t let them get to meh Although Funder interprets his lack of interest in punishing the Stasi as his victory it becomes clear to the reader that perhaps his humour and accessive drinking is Klaus’ way of coping with what happened and his ruined career. Klaus’ story although at some points is humourous is overall fairly sad as his dream is broken by the Stasi.

While throughout ‘Stasiland’ there are aspects of positivity at the end of the text a sense of sadness and reflection is more powerful than one of happiness as the reader contemplates what has happened to the victims of the Stasi and the attitude of the ex-Stasi men themselves. The devastating feel of destruction and loss felt by Miriam, Frau Paula and Klaus and the other victims of ‘Stasiland’ overshadow the colourful last chapter.

 

Example 3

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 living 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 are established. Funders use of setting in Stasiland helps establish the personal context of all the individuals. who was 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 the 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 d 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 how the Stasi regime eradicated any glimpse of human individuality. Von Donnersmarck’s use of a plattenbau for Weisler’s apartment reflects the high-rise dwellings the communist built during the ’70s. The Plattenbau as a setting is to avoid to any real sense of homeliness and therefore reinforces lack of creative expression. Von Donnersmarck utilizes a very definite idea about the colour scheme in Weisler’s apartment. The use of drab, dull and pale shades of browns and greys emphasizes the lack of life and sterility of expression that Weisler possesses.

Von Donnersmarck employs mise en scene in the setting to furthermore establish the personal context of the character Weisler, The director has placed very few elements of the scene within the frame to highlight his lack of individuality as a person. Therefore, the use of Weisler’s apartment as a setting. greatly establishes personal context. In Stasiland, the Founder’s use of Berlin as an overall setting intensively establishes the political context of the German Democratic Republic.

The setting demonstrates the abuse of political power on behalf of the Stasi regime. Funder employs a set of rich similes where she writes “training as a journalist was effectively training as a governments spokesperson.” The use of the similes creates a vivid image in the reader’s mind of the political context of the time. This elucidates the loss of humanity and total control in the political world of East Berlin, Correspondingly, in the Lives of Others, Von Donnersmarck uses the Stasi Headquarters to establish the political context of the time.

The setting is a place of physiological torture, a place where friendships and families and any sense of personal integrity is destroyed by the torte of a tear The director employs low camera angles on the officers to emphasize the abuse of political power, Von Donnersmarck carefully places a source of light behind each Stasi officer to enforce that they are men of power and they will, with no hesitation oppress anyone who speaks out.

Anna Funder and Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck, both extensively employ serving as a way of establishing personal and political context, Both composers highlight the inhumane nature of the brutal Stasi regime by using similar portrayed settings. As an audience, we are now able to fully understand the milieu of the German Democratic Republic. Thanks for your time and hope you enjoy the rest of the conference.

 

Example 4

While some of the damage suffered by totalitarian governments appears to be only temporary, most forms of harm are shown to be more permanent and long-lasting. As explored in the figures of both Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 and Funder’s journalistic narrative Stasiland, psychological suffering has greater long-term effects compared to physical suffering.

Non-permanent damage throughout the texts is presented as temporary relief that is short-lived and useless in the scheme of things. Factors determine the extent of how much one suffers at the hands of the state, such as the severity of relationships with others and the individual’s faith and loyalty to the government, and how even the most faithful can face the dire consequences of their actions.

Though both physical and psychological suffering is shown throughout both texts, physical damage is proven to be the hardest to overcome. Although Miriam suffers from scarring on her hands as a result of climbing the wall and from the brutal treatment in prison, the psychological torture such as sleep deprivation took a larger toll on her, as “sleep deprivation also causes a number of neurological dysfunctions, which become more extreme the longer it continues”, and it is evident that the effects of her emotional torture in prison lived on.

Likewise, Winston was physically tortured in imprisonment, though it was the use of fear (threatening him with rats) that triggered the conversion of his morals and beliefs to ‘become loyal’ to Big Brother. His former partner Julia, though suffering facial scarring from the rats, lost her love and trust of Winston due to his betrayal and not the event of torture. In this sense, psychological harm is shown to have a greater impact on individuals compared to the bodily harm they face.

Non-permanent damage, or the relief of harm caused by the state, is presented in both texts as temporary and short-lived. From the beginning of the text, Winston suffers from a Varicose ulcer. Winston’s varicose ulcer is an expression of his consistently repressed humanity: repressed emotions, actions, and sexuality. Orwell continues to refer to the ulcer throughout the work – “his veins had swelled with the effort of the cough, and the varicose ulcer had started itching,” but the ulcer is unmentioned during his rebellious escapade with his lover Julia.

This is only a temporary relief, as the state’s control returns and Winston’s suffering continues, something was ‘killed in (his) breast from which (he) could not recover’ like he had tried to do with the ulcer. Similarly, Julia in Stasiland decided to physically escape her painful memories by moving to San Francisco, but it is suggested that her damage is unrecoverable. The fact that she works in a feminist book store suggests that she is still holding onto the event that she endured and still longs for a sense of justice. She is thankful that they “honour their victims here” and in a sense feels “much more at home than in my own country”.

Despite a sense of closure Funder suggests that Julia has been so severely traumatized and her trust so deeply betrayed that she will struggle to heal the psychological wounds. This verifies her comment to Funder, “I think I’m definitely psychologically damaged!. She laughs, but she means it.” The sense of disabling damage or injury in both texts have either doomed culminations or have an underlying sense that their damage is impossible to overcome.

Even those most loyal to the state are shown to suffer permanently at their hands, as explored in both texts. While many former Stasi officers are described to have positive outcomes or even similar lives – Von Schnitzler holding firmly onto his beliefs as a ‘true believer’ and Herr Christian ‘pretty much doing the same job as (he) did back then’ as a private detective, Funder sympathizes with Herr Koch who evidently suffered enduringly at the hands of the state.

Herr Koch is described as bitter and defiant because the Stasi completely ruined his life, his marriage, and his career, and so flippantly cleaned his desk of all his belongings after he was made redundant. All he had managed to salvage as a testimony to his amazing dedication to the Stasi was the plate, while in comparison the Stasi did ‘quite a bit of damage’ to him. He was extremely determined to seize the plate as a sign of his small act of control; a small act of revenge. His wife lost her job, and he was labelled a thief and ‘perjurer’.

Likewise, Parsons was portrayed as a heavy, sweaty, simple man whom Winston despises for his unquestioning acceptance of everything the Party tells him. Parsons is active in his community groups and appears to truly believe Party claims and doctrine.

However, his daughter eventually denounces him to the Thought Police, claiming he was saying “Down with Big Brother” in his sleep, which Tom was ironically proud of. Despite his complete and utter allegiance to the state, he suffers imprisonment and presumably tortures the same way Winston did. Even those standing beside the governing body with faithfulness in their procedures and policies face everlasting damage from the state.

Damage faced by figures and characters, though in some cases temporary relief is found, is proven to have prominent perpetual effects on the individual. Psychological suffering in terms of torture and memory is shown to have a greater impact than physical injury such as scarring.

Relief from damage is presented as fleeting in both texts as individuals face reparations of escaping the state, or are suggested to take their past with them when trying to move on. Not only do the victims face damage, but perpetrators and those loyal to the state face permanent damage just the same. Evidently, all damage suffered by the state is proven to be permanent.

 

Example 5

‘Stasiland’ by Anna Funder is an account. In this research study, she analyzes a neglected history of everyday people from East Germany through talking to and collecting stories of witnesses. In many areas of Stasiland, positivity is demonstrated through victims’ bold stories, however, a sense of loss is constantly present, overshadowing the optimism displayed in the final chapter.

This feeling of grief which belies through the book is revealed through Miriam who loses her freedom at age 16 and later on in life her partner Charlie, Frau Paul who loses her boy and Klaus whose career is lost thanks to the Stasi.

The method in which Funder structures her text likewise develops more of a sense of reflection instead of positivity. Miriam Weber experiences much loss during her life in the GDR, and her sorrow and suffering are displayed as a basis throughout ‘Stasiland’. Miriam experiences her first loss at age 16 when she is imprisoned and loses her flexibility.

When Miriam explains almost being drowned, how she was called derogative names by jail guards, the method by which the detainees were brutal to one another and how she was addressed simply as ‘Juvenile detainee Number 725’ for 18 months, it ends up being apparent that Miriam’s story is horrific and far from being uplifting.

As Miriam exposes the traumatic events she experienced in Hohenheck prison it is made clear to Funder and the reader that Miriam ‘is brave and strong and broken all at once’. The grief Miriam experiences is exemplified as she describes how the love of her life, Charlie dies in prison and how she struggles to find out the truth.

Four years later in 2000, Funder describes Miriam as ‘…a maiden blowing smoke in her tower. Sometimes she [Miriam] can hear and smell them, but for now, the beasts are all in their cages.’ This gives the reader slight hope that although Miriam is still extremely frail and has no closure from what has happened to her there may be hope for her future.

Although the end of Miriam’s story is slightly uplifting, the intense scrutiny, constant surveillance and horrific imprisonment Miriam endures overshadows the reaffirming last chapter. Funder’s interview with Frau Paul shows extreme strength within a victim of the GDR, however, this courage is developed through the temporary loss of her son, Torsten and the intense scrutiny she experienced throughout this era.

Frau Paul’s story encompasses three chapters of ‘Stasiland’ which highlights the significance of her experiences under the regime. Frau Paul’s story of how her baby was sent to the west to receive the right medication and how she had to live with seeing him only four times within three months is gut-wrenching. The readers of ‘Stasiland’ feel a direct sympathy for Frau Paul as she becomes separated from her extremely sick baby, this fact alone creates such a horrific sense of loss which overlooks any optimism shown within Frau Paul’s story.

The shockingly unsupportive treatment Paul and her husband received from the state when their child was tragically ill gives the reader an insight into the cruelty experienced by victims of the regime. Frau Paul differs from Miriam in the way that she was involved in organized attempts to escape the GDR to be with Torsten.

Frau Paul goes to great lengths to explain to Funder that she wasn’t a classic resistance fighter when she decided to attempt to illegally leave the GDR, just a mother wanting to be with her baby. The way in which the Stasi turned Frau Paul from a typical, law-abiding citizen to, in her eyes a ‘criminal’ is horrific as not only did she lose her son, but also her identity as she is scrutinized and interrogated.

Funder uses the chapter ‘The Deal’ to show readers the dreadful choice given to Frau Paul by the Stasi interrogators, to act as Stasi bait to catch Michael Hinze, a man who tried to escape with her which would enable her to see her son Torsten or refuse their offer.

Frau Paul is shown in her most courageous moment as she tells Funder how she ‘…had to decide against my son, but I couldn’t let myself be used in this way’. Although Funder and readers view this as an incredible act of bravery it is obvious Frau Paul still carries a feeling of guilt with her leaving her psychologically damaged.

Funder revisits Frau Paul in 2000 where she is working as a tour guide at Hohenschonhausen prison where her ‘soul was buckled out of shape, forever’ as she was sentenced to four years of hard labour. Although she is working hard to preserve memories of the GDR it is obvious that she has trouble moving forward as her life is still being dictated by the Stasi.

Funder’s description of Frau Paul as ‘…the picture she has of herself is one that the Stasi made for her’ is terribly sad and along with her loss, permeates any optimism shown within her account.

Although Klaus Renft presents himself as coping with the effects of the GDR and the Stasi, he turns to self-destructing behaviour to cover his inability to handle what has happened. Klaus is different from every other person interviewed within ‘Stasiland’. He is Anna’s drinking buddy and the only male victim in the text.

During the time of the GDR Klaus’ band, the Klaus Renft Combo became the most popular band in Eastern Germany. Although Klaus enjoyed being the ‘bad boy’ of the Eastern Bloc, because there was only one record company in the GDR, the lyrics to every one of their songs they set to record were checked over and changed, their career already being dictated by the Stasi.

Klaus describes to Funder how as they toured he observed more and more that the society was built on lies and that’…there were so many lies that singing the truth guaranteed them both hero and criminal status’ and how he wanted to ‘scratch the GDR at its marrow’.

As Klaus continues his tale, Funder finds it surprising how he is not angry or bitter at what took place as his career is destroyed as the ministry of culture told him his band ‘no longer exists’. Klaus seems to provide a contrast to Frau Paul and Miriam as he claims he had no interest in material possessions and ‘didn’t let them get to me’.

Although Funder interprets his lack of interest in punishing the Stasi as his victory it becomes clear to the reader that perhaps his humour and accessive drinking is Klaus’ way of coping with what happened and his ruined career. Klaus’ story although at some points is humourous is overall fairly sad as his dream is broken by the Stasi.

While throughout ‘Stasiland’ there are aspects of positivity at the end of the text a sense of sadness and reflection is more powerful than one of happiness as the reader contemplates what has happened to the victims of the Stasi and the attitude of the ex-Stasi men themselves. The devastating feel of destruction and loss felt by Miriam, Frau Paula and Klaus and the other victims of ‘Stasiland’ overshadow the colourful last chapter.

 

Example 6 – How Funder Uses Symbols to Explore Key Themes in Stasiland

People here talk Of the Mauer im Kopf or the Wall in the Head.” Discuss how Funder uses symbols to explore key themes in Stasiland. Stasiland’ is a non-fiction text written by Anna Funder and follows the personal recounts and experiences of those who lived throughout the GDR prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, While the book primarily revolves around the conversations and reflections Which Funder holds in relation to these stories, it is the authors remarkable use of symbolism which enables her to go beyond mere conversation delve into the complexities of not just other’s but her own experience in Stasiland.

The use of physical motifs such as Hagen Koch\’s Stasi plate is representative of the unrelenting oppression and control used by the Stasi and featured throughout Stasiland, as well as the courage of many of those Who attempted to defy the SED. funder’s more abstract use Of light and dark is symbolic of her vulnerability, at times. as she delves deeper and deeper into the former GDR and faces an increasingly uncomfortable reality as a character in Stasiland.

Lastly, Funders developing a description of the architectural and social characteristics of East Berlin over the structure of the text symhoIi72s he progression of many characters in having dealt with their past, another key theme Of the book.

The inclusion of Hagen Koch’s plate as a trophy of his defiance and triumph over the Stasi stands as one of the most potent uses of physical symbolism within Stasiland, to which Funder devotes an entire chapter rifled The Plats Koch’s plate, stolen from the Stasi head office, manifests a final success for Koch against a regime Which essentially dismantled his entire livelihood, despite his dedication to the regime. To Hagen Koch, it was worth ‘… all the courage… ‘ he had in defying the GOR regime. In this sense, Koch’s plate becomes a symbol of the bravery and resilience shown by many characters who suffered at the hands of the ruthless Stasi operatives.

Koch\’s plate is not just ‘some righteousness from the post- Wall rubble’, symbolic of his own courage – a major theme explored throughout Stasiland – but moreover pertains to the extreme and unrelenting actions Of the Stasi in maintaining control in all aspects of the CDR. The force for ‘… Plate Re- Procurement.’ established by the Stasi solely to send a message to Koch of their demonstrates the drastic determination so heavily embedded in the Stasi.

The Stasi could not care less for the plate itself – being worth only 18 marks… ‘ – but are obsessed with demonstrating their absolute power and control and go to extreme lengths in order to regain what was’… rightfully the property of the GUR.’ In this sense, Hagen Koch\’s plate is more than just a manifestation of courage and personal triumph but becomes symbolic of the intense oppression and control with which the Stasi operated against their people throughout the GDR.

Funders use of symbolism in order to explore themes relevant to her own personal struggle with finding comfort and security within the former GDR is a concept central to Stasiland, The authors more abstract use of darkness enables Funder to draw parallels between her own difficulty living in the former GDR and those who endured the true terror of the Stasi Regime, particularly in the retelling of Miriam Weber’s attempted escape to West Berlin.

‘It was dark… ‘ on the Eastern side of the Wall, and ‘… in the west the neon shone. West Berlin is painted as a safe haven, away from the dangerous and frightening ‘dark’ GDR, Similarly, during her interaction with Herr Bock. Funder characterizes the menacing ex-Stasi operative as ‘… enjoying himself in the dark… ‘, where she eels frightened and vulnerable ‘… at his mercy: Just as Miriam was frightened in the darkness of the GDR, Funder feels especially uncomfortable in the dark of Herr Jock’s home. In this way, Funder has employed darkness, especially in order to symbolize her own difficulty in dealing with the lack of security which she experiences throughout the alien and confronting Stasiland.

In connecting to Miriam\’s own story at the hands of the Stasi, Funder reinforces that anyone venturing into Stasiland – even if that individual has not experienced the GDR first-hand – can experience the vulnerability and danger which the Stasi forced on heir people – two key themes of the text. The strong presence of colours to linoleum and dark brown throughout the text further pertains to the personal struggle which Funder must deal with in lacking a sense of solace within the former GDR.

In the chapter titled ‘… The Linoleum Palace… ‘, Funder notes that she suddenly and overwhelming is experiencing the ‘… predominance of linoleum in my (her) life. ‘ This statement comes just after Funder has met with Miriam and learned of her terrible story of loss and betrayal at the hands of the Stasi, Linoleum is used in this way as a representation of Funders despair at what the Stasi had inflicted on their people. something which Funder has just now become brutally aware of.

The presence of linoleum throughout Stasiland is symbolic of the emotional affliction of the author in dealing with suffers from the GDR regime throughout her journey within East Berlin Funders changing description of the colour and architecture of the former GDR is symbolic of the progress which characters within Stasiland have made in dealing with their personal struggles Which began at the hands of the Stasi, and which participate as major themes throughout the text.

In the first chapter of the book, the former GDR is characterized by ‘ m. the green bench, green tiles and green air. ‘ and ‘… massive grey… ‘ buildings, These artificial structures represent the plaguing impact which the Stasi regime still has in the lives of all those living in the former GDR, despite the fall of the Berlin Wall nearly a decade before hand. Because of this ever-present architectural symbol of what used to be, it is very difficult for the individuals who endured the GDR to move on from their past.

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