Who is the protagonist of the novel? (Doesn’t have to be a human being or even a single entity
The main protagonist in the book is Schramm. The novel takes us through the life of Schramm as he takes the readers through his daily experiences. He shares his memories of the GDR military as well as the visit by a colorful Uzbek general. The experiences in the GDR military have shaped the man who he is and have helped him in making the various decisions required by him. Schramm describes the caliber of men that he had interacted with at the GDR military(Stanisic ,210). The courageous and commanding Trunov would teach them how to cope even at the worst times. Trunov made a joke about how he had climbed the cold-blooded Tian Shan mountain range on the back of his stallion named All My Prayers without getting from its back. He challenges the men by telling them that even the Rockets turned him down for such kind of an adventure(Stanisic, 80). The writer uses personification to emphasize that even the rockets would not allow him to use them for such a mission.
Pick a character from the novel and compare the differences between German and American culture through the character’s life
Ulli is a character that well exemplifies the differences in the German and American cultures. One of the ways through which Stanisik brings out the differences in these two cultures through Ulli is the events that take place in his garage. The German culture is famed for its emphasis and value on beer and its affordability. There is some sense of unity evident in the gatherings that take place at the garage as the participants discuss their annual feasts. This a stark difference from the American culture as rarely do people speak out of their admirations for cultural events that have been passed down over the years. The people who meet at Ulli’s place seem to have a preference for the garage over a somewhat formalized drinking environment. This is a stark contrast of the American populace preference for bars and well organized parties.
“Everyone can tell a story about the old days at Ulli’s, and usually the others listen” (Stanisik 22). This conversation reveals the line of conversation of Germans when they are out on a drinking spree. It is apparent from the quotation that these individuals valued their bottle and would rather reminisce over those days. Conversely, the American culture seems to tend towards partying and the line of conversations in such environments is always random and unstructured.
Are there any universal or timeless themes in the book? How are they still relevant to contemporary German culture?
Before the Feast is a novel that has many themes some of which are still relevant in the contemporary German culture. One of the striking universal themes in the novel is the theme of Apprenticeship. This is a practice that was very important in the village according to the novel. Some of the activities that were passed on through an apprenticeship in the novel include painting and military training. The novel describes how the generals would train and monitor the soldiers in the GDR. The same happens in the contemporary German culture. Some skills are passed on from the masters to their students. Military training still heavily relies on this training as the generals prepare soldiers to handle their duties with diligence and the level of discipline required. The culture of Germans advocates for the juniors to follow the lead of their seniors so as to become experts in their skills
This book takes place in a time that could possibly be described as not modern. What is modern about it, what is not? What aspects of the story complicate the distinction between modern / unmodern or between contemporary / non-contemporary?
The setting of the book “Before the Feast” is undoubtedly a backward area in Fürstenfelde, a German village. Stanisik brings out the bucolic nefariousness in a variety of ways, though he also infuses bits of modernity in the books that could