Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin

Book Report/Review
Pages 8 (2008 words)
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Published in 1929, Berlin Alexanderplatz, a novel by Alfred Dblin, belongs to the class of works, which are normally referred to as the German 'modern novel'. Although the author had published a number of other books over the first decades of 20th century, it was Berlin Alexanderplatz that brought Dblin international acclaim.


However, this character's fate is also very allegorical: Biberkopf embodies the desperate struggle for survival in the metropolis. On this level Berlin Alexanderplatz provides the reader with a brilliant account of early 20th century German society and, what is even more important, sends multiple didactic messages to people entering the epoch of modernity. The style of narration is one of the primary tools that help Dblin in achieving this task.
In the novel, Dblin introduces readers to Biberkopf, the story's narrator (for most part) and protagonist, who has served a four-year imprisonment for involuntarily killing his girlfriend. He returns to the city of Berlin with the positive intention of becoming an honest member of society. In the beginning Biberkopf succeeds in his intent managing to make his living as a peddler and newspapers seller. However, the further process of adaptation to life outside the prison turns complicated when alcoholism and unemployment turn Biberkopf into a social misfit. Broken dreams and illusions coupled with the feeling of being betrayed by society, he joins a gang of criminals and becomes a ponce and thief. Soon after Biberkopf loses an arm, and has his girlfriend killed by Reinhold, a jealous thug. ...
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