Analysis Of ' The Empire Of The Senses ' Essay

1509 Words Mar 11th, 2016 7 Pages
Taking place in Berlin and Mitau, The Empire of the Senses is the story of the budding and withering of love as well as the ethnic hatred that plagued the early twentieth century. The author, Alexis Landau, writes the story of a German family, that experiences loss and self discovery as the unimaginable becomes reality. The Empire of the Senses is set from 1914 to 1918 and 1927 to 1933, between the start of World War I and the beginning of World War II. The first half of the book, 1914 to 1918, takes place in Mitau, Russia, or present day Jelgava, Latvia. It is a broken down town located by the plains near a dense, voluminous forest on the banks of Lielupe River. When Lev, one of the main characters first arrives here, Mitau is in a desolate state. The town was abandoned by its citizens and then occupied by the Russians. Everything left behind was destroyed and burned. Lev describes it this way, “The very condition of the streets proved how these people needed them: the footing was unsteady; one had to walk on narrow slick planks where cobblestones had been blown up. Once, Lev thought he saw a femur buried under loose cobblestones. Signs pointed to nowhere. Open gutters flowed with sewage.” Slowly, as Lev and his unit begin rebuilding, the citizens trickle back. Finally, the town is restored to a livable state, though Mitau is no less bleak. Vast areas of land around Mitau were ravaged for firewood, fuel and building material. The trees that once dotted the landscape…

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