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Saturday, May 19, 2007

The German Refugee by Bernard Malamud

The voice of this story is powerful. From the spelling of the words to how the broken English is spoken, this story demonstrates the power of words and how others view the English language.
Oskar Gassner is a German refugee who has fled Germany for religious reasons. He was a professor in Germany, but now finds himself in a strange world and struggling to learn a language he so desperately needs to learn in order to give an important lecture on English translation. His tutor struggles to help teach him pronunciation, but most of the words come out in a broken English. The hardest part of Oskar's learning process is stage fright. He knows that when the time comes to take the podium that he will freeze up. He successfully gives his speech but in a twist of fate, the story ends rather sadly. The power of religion and language forces Oskar and others in the story to do things that they never thought they would.

1 comment:

shersy said...

That is such a sad ending! It was quite a powerful story - I had to look at the year it was written because it seemed to capture the time so well! I liked how the tutor really gets involved and invested in Oskar's success - it really adds to the power of the story!