Fatherlessness And Isolation In Jenny Erpenbeck's The End Of Days

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In Jenny Erpenbeck’s The End of Days, there are many connecting threads and themes throughout the novel in each of the five books, such as death, the absentness of a father and/or man, and isolation. In each of the five books, fatherlessness and death is seen, although differently. In each book, Erpenbeck presents the protagonist without a father, but it has a different effect on each protagonist. Likewise, death never happens the same way in each book, but it happens. Book one opens with the death of a baby. The narrator states, “The Lord gave, and the Lord took away, her grandmother said to her at the edge of the grave . . . everything her child might have become was now lying there at the bottom of the pit, waiting to be covered up” (5). Here the readers are aware that someone is dead, but it is only a little later in the text it is discovered as a baby. Erpenbeck opens with death at the beginning of the novel and readers see death as this powerful force already. Throughout the novel, she will continue to remind readers of death. …show more content…
Readers see the first father running from his responsibilities, “But after her daughter’s husband had been beaten to death . . . and when her own daughter was grown, she’d married her to a goy. Now the goy had gone off” (36-37). “Her” who is the mother of the baby, “her’s” husband runs away and leaves “her” to mourn by herself. At this point, it is the introduction to the absent of father and man. The mother does not have a man to depend on and strengthen her, so her grandmother takes on the responsibility. It is a great possibility that the father’s nonexistence during the mother’s mourning of the baby’s death caused her to mourn worse. How painful would it be to have the father of your dead child abandon

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