‘All the people in Stasiland are struggling to accept the past.’ Discuss.
“Things have been put behind glass, but they are not yet over.” Stasiland depicts a society intent on sweeping the past aside, dismantling historical monuments and sanitising records, despite the way individuals within the society remain haunted by the past. Many of the central characters in the text remain traumatised and unable to accept key events or actions in their past. While some characters seek to understand the past and others cling to distorted and obsolete world views, it is clear that no-one is really at peace with the past.
From the outset, Funder depicts a society which is not simply in the process of change, but seems actively to be attempting to forget the past. In the opening sections of the text, the narrator comments that “East Germany has disappeared, but its remains are still at the site.” But the remains to which she refers are largely not physical – the Wall, for example, “has been erased so quickly that there is hardly a trace of it in the streets.” The attitude of westerners is typified by Funder’s colleague, Uwe, who claims, “no-one here is interested … the whole Stasi thing … it’s sort of … embarrassing,” while Miriam condemns the attitude of the authorities, because “they just want to stop thinking about the past. They want to pretend it all didn’t happen.” In this context, the motif of cleaning which recurs throughout the text comes to symbolise a desire to erase the past, without ever really understanding or accepting it.
- Use of symbols (motif) is good, quotes well integrated
- Too many quotes,
For Funder, this desire to sanitise and erase the past is linked metaphorically to “the sick smell of antiseptic” because so many people are still haunted by past trauma. Again and again, the text depicts the ongoing suffering of former residents of the GDR. Julia, for instance, is described as a woman “whose part-time study and...