Kindertransport Essay

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How does Samuels present the figure of ‘The Ratcatcher’ in Kindertransport? What is the significance of this character?

The Ratcatcher is presented through many different ways in this play. Sometimes as a solid character, a lot of the time as authority figures, sometimes as people that Evelyn loves and sometimes we see The Ratcatcher through other characters, such as Evelyn.
The first appearance of this character in Kindertransport is at the beginning of the play, where we see Eva reading Der Rattenfänger (The Ratcatcher), and also the first time we see Eva herself. This is clearly important and shows the significance of both of these characters. Throughout the play Eva is constantly accusing other people or things as being Ratcatchers. The reason I believe that she does this is because of how troubled her childhood is.
The Ratcatcher plays a big role in the play, not just as a main antagonist but as an important symbol in the play’s context. At the beginning of the play, Helga is reading Eva’s favourite book about The Ratcatcher, but throughout is often referred to as ‘Der Rattenfanger’. Similarly, Faith is in the scene too in a strange kind of paradox. The Ratcatcher in this scene is portrayed as an evil and dark mysterious figure, who gives a sense of foreboding, especially when as an audience we catch on that when Eva asks Helga what an abyss is: “What’s an abyss, Mutti?” her description matches that of The Ratcatcher’s.
Helga also reads: “Beware little children. Take heed and learn the lesson of Hamlyn where one bad soul brought tragedy upon the whole town.” This is how Samuels shows us that The Ratcatcher and his story are completely relevant to Eva’s life, as she later on causes tragedy to her Mutti for not going to New York with her. This could also symbolize The Holocaust itself – or Hitler to be precise. So perhaps Samuels is indirectly portraying Hitler as The Ratcatcher.
Helga believes that she is doing the right thing by sending Eva on the...

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  • Submitted by:
  • on March 13, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,164 words
  • Views: 1669
  • Popularity Rank: 6415
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