Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces essay

Anne Michaels / Fugitive Pieces / novel / World War II / holocaust / Nazis

Essay Topic:

The revelation of the tragic message and the plot interpretation of Anne Michaels novel Fugitive Pieces.

Essay Questions:

Why is Anne Michaels novel Fugitive Pieces considered to be one of the most prominent books of the XX century? How did the World War II influence the novel? In what way does the book become a bridge between two different generations?

Thesis Statement:

This is the story about a tragedy of all those people whose life has never been the same after the World War II; a story about the points of view of the event from the point of view of the representatives of two different generations.


Anne Michaels Fugitive Pieces essay


Table of contents:

1. Introduction

2. Jakobs tragedy

3. Ben and his damaged soul

4. Switching from Jakob to Ben

5. Conclusion

Hold a booking your hand and youre a pilgrim at the gates of a new city

Anne Michaels

Introduction: The book Fugitive Pieces written by Anne Michaels is one of the most prominent books of the end of the XX century. This is primary due to the fact that it reflects one of the major issues of the World War II the victims of the Holocaust. The book was written in 1996 year after the war but still its vivid way of revealing the feelings of people who have gone through the sorrowful death of their beloved ones. This is a book about two broken lives, a book telling people that a tragedy of lost will never be forgotten even by the future generations. Anne Michaels describes the broken hearts and the damaged souls of two people belonging to different generations but still having a vital point of intersection and this point of intersection is endless grief and pain. The book shocks the reader with is humanity. This is not just a story of a poet that suffered greatly from the Second World War and not a story of a you man professor belonging to the post-war generation but whose life has been deformed by the horrors his own family experienced. This is the story about a tragedy of all those people whose life has never been the same after the World War II; a story about the points of view of the event from the point of view of the representatives of two different generations. The book makes a connection between the pains two people had experienced and reveals the true energy of humanism. World War II did destroy the lives a many people! This makes the reader feel the ever-lasting pain in the hearts of these people through the life-stories of the heroes Jakob and Ben.In order to understand the reason why Anne Michaels switches from Jakob to Ben in her story, it is necessary to realize the peculiarities of life of these two men.

2. Jakobs tragedy

The novel begins with the story of Jakob Beer, a seven-year-old Jew boy that became the experienced the brutal murderer of his parents. The tragedy takes place in Poland. The only reason he stays alive is because he happens to be in his secret place at the very same time his parent are killed by the Nazis. Jakob had a beloved sister Bella, that was abducted by the Nazis and he has no idea of where and how she is. As the boy loses every single person from those that were the dearest people in the world, being a small boy and having no strength to get over the pain he can rely only on himself. He runs away still staying in the area of his village. Jakob, mourning and having nobody to help him, buries himself in mud so the Nazis would not find and kill him.Fortunately, a Greek archaeologist Athos Roussos while digging in the area where the Beers used to live finds the poor child and his heart melts. Athos leaves his works and secretly takes Jakob to the island of Zakynthos. The fate did not just make Athos Jakobs savior but also converted Jakob into Athoss savior because right after both left to Greece, the Nazis came and killed everybody that were in the area of the village. In effect, they saved each other", - writes Michaels and she is profoundly right. GreeceThis becomes Jakobs period of Occupation and Zakynthos become the place where the Nazi authorities have fewer opportunities to track him. Athos and the Jewish community the young man lives there open a completely new world for little Jakob. Jakob learns what botany geology, art and poetry are and how fascinating they can be.

The end of the war finished the period of hiding as Athos and Jakob move to Toronto, Canada where later Jakob decides to get married and dedicate himself to poetry and translating. The shadow of the tragedy Jakob experienced when he was a little boy is his constant companion until it is somehow covered by the wonderful feeling of love to his first wife Alex. Nevertheless, the fact that Jakob did not know what eventually has happened to his sister leaves a terrible scar in his heart. His soul is spite of his full life is always hurting from not knowing whether Bella is alive. The image of his lost sister always stays in his hear never letting him forget the terrible murders that destroyed his life and stopped his childhood and joy.Yes, Jakob was the victim of Holocaust! He was the child with no childhood and a grown-up with an ever-bleeding heart from mourning. The traumas Jakob got during the war become his heavy burden and damaged his mind and soul. He becomes a prisoner of his own memory that keeps him recalling the lost and the pain he had to go through back then and is still gong through now. His second wife Michaela seeming to be Jakobs soul mate fails to completely accept the peculiarities of Jakobs heart and the little scared boy living inside of him. Life taught Jakob how to love and to forgive, how not to be afraid of the future, in spite of the pain that stayed forever in his heart and soul. Jakob lives a good life and never forgets and sorrows of the Holocaust that have taken all his loved people away. As the first part of the book is dedicated to Jakob Anne Michaels then switches to the protagonist Ben.

3.Ben and his damaged soul

The whole Jakobs story is told according to the diaries that Jakob himself wrote when he was alive. These diaries are discovered by a young professor named Ben that is very interested in knowing the biography of people that went through the World War II. Ben meets Jakob and his talented wife Michaela at the house of their friend. Jakob is already sixty years old by that time. Ben becomes particularly interested in the poetry and in the personality of Jakob Beer and his heart fills with admiration and fascination with this man. He senses the connection between him and the old man, a connection that has been made by war and pain.

Bens parents are Holocaust survivors, too and he himself has grown up on the grief that has settled in their hearts forever. After Jakobs death Ben tries to gather information about this wonderful man he respects so much and goes to the Greek island of Idhra attempting to find any of Jakobs notebooks. He become lucky and faces Jakobs memories left in the diaries. As Ben lives with the memories of his parents and Jakobs memories become another detail to make Bens picture full. Both Ben and Jakob had a heavy stone in their heart and had to live every single day with it. Ben is depicted as a man feeling that he was born into absencea hiding place, rotted out by grief. The emptiness in the heart of his parents also left a scar in his heart. Holocaust also took away his happy childhood and gave him s life-long terrifying present grief. As Jakob throughout his life learned how to love and how to accept future with everything it is about to bring, Ben learned the same thing from Jakobs notes.

Ben realizes that he was not the only child that suffered immensely and whose soul was constantly hurting because of the Holocaust horrors. Jakobs memories become Bens life-teacher for they show Ben that there is hope hope for love hope for peace hope for happiness. Ben starts believing in love and is shown by Jakobs writings that future is not something to be afraid of but a reality that needs to be accepted and expected with joy. Bens heavily damaged soul starts resurrecting after his penetration into Jakobs world and feelings he experienced during his life.

Jakobs life became a guide to Bens own life. Jakobs works he created throughout his life revealed the transformation of his heart sufferings. At the end of his life Jakob was not the captive of this traumatic memories and made Ben the gift of pure spirituality and even the regeneration of his soul.

4. Switching from Jakob to Ben

So what are the reasons the novel switches in point of view, from Jakob to Ben? The author of the novel Anne Michaels did made a very wise thing telling the stories of these two different people together! This reveals at its full the strong connection between two generations a tragedy can make. It opens the door to the hearts of those people who have experienced the horrors of the Holocaust themselves and the effort they had to put into their own lives in order to make themselves at least not to be afraid of the future anymore if not to forget the past. Michaels draws the connection between the perception of the Holocaust tragedy by the victims themselves and by the children of the victims. Michaels tries to say that even the generation gap does not make any differences in the scars that this tragedy left on the heart of the victims and their children. By choosing two characters Anne Michaels reveals the life of people belonging to the war and the post-war generations, but who live with the same loss in their hearts. Bens character makes the story closer to the reader, those event stop being just historical facts but turn into the life of real people and arouse compassion in the hear of the reader. The author shows that even the next generations still posses the burden of emptiness and hopelessness, until they learn how to accept their future.

Conclusion: The characters of Jakob and Ben show that tragic memory cannot be killed by time and the only way to make the hurtful recollections dull is learn how to love, trust and hope for new. As the novel switches from Jakob to Ben, it creates a bridge over the abyss of the lack of intergenerational understanding that the feeling of loss is the same not depending on the century, year or season.As the novel contains the shift from Jakobs life to Bens life this book doubles the pain that lives inside the families of the Nazi victims. This is a book about the impossibility to forget and the necessity to remember the war-horrors. This is a book of losing the dearest people in the whole wide world, a book that reveals history from a completely new side; it is a book of immortal memories living in the hearts of the Holocaust victims.


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