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1981
Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-4344
  • E-ISSN: 2040-4352

Abstract

Using Thing theory and a Marxist analysis of temporality, I show how identity formation in Erpenbeck’s novel relies on objects and a person’s ability to work, demonstrating how the dehumanizing effects of capitalism not only impact the asylum seekers in the novel, but its German characters as well. Although characters fight against dehumanization, Erpenbeck’s novel demonstrates that the only hope for the future lies in systemic change. Although the majority of scholarship on reads it through the lens of Europe’s refugee crisis, I argue that Erpenbeck contextualizes the crisis, situating it in a dehumanizing capitalist system fraught with internal contradictions to show the true crisis is not an influx of migrants, but the failure of the German political and economic systems to account for them.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral scholarship
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/content/journals/10.1386/cjmc_00063_1
2023-01-30
2024-07-22
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