The Reader

Essay by fred_aUniversity, Bachelor's November 2014

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Hanna controls her relationship with Michael and makes him feel like every argument is his fault.

"Usually she was absolutely single-minded, weather in agreement or disagreement. Faced with her look of shock, I had been ready to take it all back if necessary, blame myself, and apologize." pg 71


Hanna chooses to appear more guilty rather than tell the court she is illiterate.

"Once Hanna admitted having written the report, the other defendants had an easy game to play." pg 135

Hanna kills herself. Although it is sad, she is showing she is in control of her life, and nobody else controls her.

Hanna gets Michael to want to leave his friends without even asking him to do so.

Michael Berg


Most would argue that Hanna's character is portrayed as the ruling character or the one to show dominance but a figurative reading of the novel shows otherwise.

For instance;

It is true that Hannah forces Michael to read for her, but it is Michael that choses the stories and novels to read her, this is a hegemonic discourse as Michael's ability to read shows his dominance over Hanna.

In the opening stages of the novel, Hanna seemed very in control of their relationship and of Michael, but as the novel progresses her fate is rested upon Michael. In essence, Michael is now in control of Hanna destiny and their relationship. A quote supporting this hegemonic discourse is "I had neither sought nor chosen this new role, but it was mine whether I wanted it or not, whether I did anything or remained completely passive." This dilemma that Michael faces reflects the case of many Germans in the Nazi era that had to choses between self-protection and enduring the consequences of intervening. Michael sided with self-preservation and...