In Animals in Literature, Ancient and Modern, we will explore the roles that animals and animal symbolism play in literature across time and across culture, reaching back into classic folk traditions and extending into the modern literary imagination.* You will read and respond to a range of enduring literary texts from a range of literary genres, such as fables, fairy tales, poetry, fiction, and graphic novels. Through the process of exploring the place of animals in literature, you will also explore and present your own unique ideas and creativity through written expressions, interpretive performances, and formal presentations. For the major written assignments, we will follow the steps of the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revision, and editing. Throughout the semester, we will also sharpen your command of grammar, usage, and mechanics and expand your literary and everyday vocabulary.

* To establish some continuity between the work you did last semester and what we have planned for this semester, I will look for ways, as often as possible, to foster connections to the readings, themes, and concepts you have already studied. Please do not hesitate to call attention to any connections yourselves during our classes or in your work for this semester.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Anti-Semitic Nazi Propaganda: The Eternal Jew (1940)

In 1940, after the invasion and annexation of Poland by Nazi Germany, the Nazis released the rabidly anti-Semitic "documentary" The Eternal Jew. In the film, the Jewish people are portrayed in a horribly distorted light. In one sequence they are compared to hordes of rats swarming Europe and bringing with them all of the worst ills of society.The film stands as a thinly veiled argument for why the Jews should be exterminated. In the final scene of the film, we find Adolf Hitler himself giving a speech to the Nazi party that is tantamount to a call for genocide.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article about the film:
The Eternal Jew

Here is the first part (1/7) of The Eternal Jew on YouTube, in which the basic "character" of the Jew is introduced and ridiculed:

Here is the second part (2/7) in which Jews are compared to rats (6:57):

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