In Günter Grass's Danzig Trilogy and novella, Im Krebsgang, an antagonistic female type makes a repeated appearance. She appears in the guise of Susi Kater and Luzie Rennwand in Die Blechtrommel, and as Tulla Pokriefke in the other works, Katz und Maus, Hundejahre, and Im Krebsgang. This antagonistic female type is not like other women in these works. A review of Le Deuxième Sexe by feminist Simone de Beauvoir reveals several crucial components contributing to woman's position in society. Most essentially, a woman's natural attributes and (dis)abilities and the conventions of society have enforced her historical submission to man. This thesis analyzes how the antagonistic female type, or villain, compares and contrasts with other female figures in these works by Grass, according to a paradigm derived from Beauvoir's description of woman. From this analysis, a better understanding of the female villain's nature emerges. Indeed, such a comparison demonstrates that certain female figures in the works of Grass transcend their historically oppressed or subdued status by refusing to submit to those natural handicaps and societal restrictions identified by Beauvoir, and thus become a threat to man's status or security as an antagonistic female type, or villain. However, the villain figure is not always inherently evil, but possesses the capacity to change. The villain and victim can reconcile their differences and may even form a friendly relationship. This evolving villain-victim duality becomes most clear in Grass's work, Im Krebsgang, and suggests the possibility of assuaging contemporary conflicts as educators sympathize with the experiences of both extremist groups and victimized parties and help them come to terms with their differences.
College and Department
Humanities; Germanic and Slavic Languages
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Baumgarten, Joseph Ephraim, "Combating the Banality of Evil: Portrayals of the Literary Female Villain in GÃ¼nter Grass's Danziger Trilogie and Novella, Im Krebsgang." (2005). Theses and Dissertations. 653.
Günter Grass, Danzig Trilogy, Danziger Trilogie, Krebsgang, Blechtrommel, Katz und Maus, Hundejahre, Crabwalking, Cat and Mouse, Dog Years, Tin Drum, örtlich betäubt, Tulla Pokriefke, Ursula Pokriefke, Susi Kater, Luzie Rennwand, Vero Lewand, Niobe, Schwarze Köchin, Oskar Matzerath, Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, woman as Other, female villain, female antagonist, femmes fatales, la femme fatale, Gewöhnung, habituation, Rede von der Gewöhnung, Ben and Dieter, Vergangenheitsbewältigung