Linguistics and Literature Studies Vol. 9(3), pp. 84 - 90
DOI: 10.13189/lls.2021.090302
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Representation of Selected Aspects of World War II and Their Influence on Personality Transformation in the Book Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński


Milan Mašát *
Palacký University Olomouc, Faculty of Education, Department of Czech Language and Literature, Žižkovo náměstí 5, 771 40 Olomouc, Czech Republic

ABSTRACT

The main goal of the paper is to answer the question How are selected aspects of World War II represented in the artistic narrative The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński? After reading the novel, the analysis examined the main lines of depiction of the events happened in World War II, focusing on those that are, in my opinion, key to the interpretation of the novel and to create parallels between artistic literary representation and reality of World War II. After the introduction, in which I presented the circumstances that accompanied the publication of the book The Painted Bird in the United States of America and then in other countries (discussions and disputes were mainly based on depictions of brutality, which, however, was an integral part of life during World War II), I focused on selected aspect implemented into the narrative. I have divided them into five groups: 1) A Futile Struggle for Life, 2) Christians versus Jews, 3) I´m One of You: Looting of the Kalmyks, 4) The Habits of the Villagers and 5) Implementation of the Ideas of Communism. The analysis showed that selected aspects of World War II, focusing on the integration of a multilateral view of selected events of a defined historical phase, are represented in the Kosiński´s narrative mainly through a certain influence of the external environment on the formation of the boy´s personality. The first metamorphosis is guided by the devaluation of its ethical and moral values with the main goal: to survive. This effort permeates the entire artistic narrative and is most significantly depicted in the futile struggle for the life of a painted bird in the environment of individuals of its kind, which is a parallel to the boy´s life among other people. The second transformation of his personality takes place during the rage of the Kalmyks in one of the villages, during which he realizes his resemblance to these people and in a way seeks to explain the transformation of his moral values based on external resemblance to them. A certain "correction" of his not very fault due to a distorted personality profile is thematized in a meeting with a Russian soldier who is trying to acquaint the boy with communist ideas. Based on the presentation of selected aspects that were part of the Second World War and their representation in the analyzed artistic narrative, I believe that The Painted Bird should become an integral part of compulsory school reading.

KEYWORDS
The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosiński, Holocaust, Shoah, Multilateral View

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Milan Mašát , "Representation of Selected Aspects of World War II and Their Influence on Personality Transformation in the Book Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński," Linguistics and Literature Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, pp. 84 - 90, 2021. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2021.090302.

(b). APA Format:
Milan Mašát (2021). Representation of Selected Aspects of World War II and Their Influence on Personality Transformation in the Book Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosiński. Linguistics and Literature Studies, 9(3), 84 - 90. DOI: 10.13189/lls.2021.090302.