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Alan, Colton, Nathan, Nina, Richard, Vincent. Humanity on trial: What would you do? . Thesis. Severe trauma and stress lead to changes in behavior and judgment as seen in the characters and their interactions with each other. Part 1: 3 – 83 Part 2: 87 – 163 Part 3: 167 – 218 .

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Alan colton nathan nina richard vincent

Alan, Colton, Nathan, Nina, Richard, Vincent

Humanity on trial:What would you do?



  • Severe trauma and stress lead to changes in behavior and judgment as seen in the characters and their interactions with each other.

  • Part 1: 3 – 83

  • Part 2: 87 – 163

  • Part 3: 167 – 218

Id ego and superego

Id, Ego and Superego

Freud s theory

Freud’s Theory

  • Personality and the mind is composed of three elements-Id, Ego and Superego

    • Internal conflicts arise from the conflicting tendencies of the three

Freud on id

Freud on Id

“We approach the id with analogies: we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle.“

Sigmund Freud, 1933, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis)

What is id

What is Id?

  • The Irrational part of the mind

  • Unconscious part of psyche present at birth

  • Satisfies the basic/primitive urges of humans

    • Hunger, thirst, rest, death and sex…

  • Acts according to the “pleasure principle”

    • Avoids pain/unpleasure

    • Needs must be met immediately

      • “Primary Process”

Id part one of the reader

Id: Part One of The Reader

  • Michael’s lust for Hanna

  • “The next night I fell in love with her. I could barely sleep, I was yearning for her, I dreamed of her, thought I could feel her until I realized that I was clutching the pillow or the blanket” (27).

Freud on ego

Freud on Ego

“The ego represents what we call reason and sanity, in contrast to the id which contains the passions.“

(Sigmund Freud, 1923, The Ego and the Id)

What is ego

What is Ego?

  • The Rational part of the mind

  • Unconscious, preconscious and conscious

  • Mediates demands of id, superego and reality

    • Balances morals, primitive drives and limitations of reality

  • Acts according to the “reality principle”

    • Satisfy id’ desire in realistic ways

      • “Secondary Process”

  • Protects itself from id with defensive mechanisms

    • Repression, regression, denial….

  • Ego part two of the reader

    Ego: Part Two of The Reader

    • Defensive Mechanism used by Michael

    • “Then I remembered how I had blown the hair away from that neck and how I kissed that birthmark and that neck. But the memory was like a retrieved file. I felt nothing.” (100)

    Ego part two of the reader1

    Ego: Part Two of The Reader

    • Michael use of “reality principle”

    • “But I wasn’t really concerned with justice. I couldn’t leave Hanna the way she was, or wanted to be. I had to meddle with her, have some kind of influence and effect on her, if not directly then indirectly” (159).

    Freud on superego

    Freud on Superego

    "The super-ego retains the character of the father, while the more powerful the Oedipus complex was and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the influence of authority, religious teaching, schooling and reading), the stricter will be the domination of the super-ego over the ego later on—in the form of conscience or perhaps of an unconscious sense of guilt.“

    (Sigmund Freud, 1923, The Ego and the Id)

    What is superego

    What is Superego?

    • The Moral part of the mind

    • Unconscious, preconscious and conscious

    • Ideals acquired from parents and society

    • Suppress any urges/desires of the id that are considered morally/socially wrong

      • Forces ego to act morally instead of realistically

    • Ego Ideal- Rewards and positive reinforcement

    • Conscience- Punishments and warnings

    Superego part three of the reader

    Superego: Part Three of The Reader

    • Michael’s guilt/morality

    • “I had no one to point at. Certainly not my parents because I had nothing to accuse them of. The zeal for letting in the daylight, with which, as a member of the concentration camps seminar, I had condemned my father to shame, had passed, and it embarrassed me… I had to point to Hanna. But the finger I pointed at her turned back to me…” (170)

    With respect to human psychology

    with respect to human psychology


    Immanuel kant

    Immanuel Kant

    • Consequentialism

      • Consequences of an Action

    • Deontology

      • Moral Judgment

        • Categorical imperative

          • Morality derived by rationality

    Georg hegel

    Georg Hegel

    • Absolute Idealism

      • Reality must be rational

      • Everything Thinkable

        • Must be resolvable

    Realm of thought

    Realm of Thought

    • Michael’s Father

    • Reason

    • Black and White

    • Stuck in Thought

    Activity one logic reason quiz

    Activity One – Logic / Reason Quiz

    Task 1 even vowels

    Task 1: Even Vowels

    Imagine that you are employed in quality control by a card manufacturer. They are producing a series of cards for an experimental psychologist, according to the following rule: if a card has a vowel on one side, then it has an even number on the other side. There are four of these cards. You know for certain that each card has a letter on one side and a number on the other. Which card or cards must you definitely need to turn over to determine whether the rule is broken in the case of any of the four cards.

    Task 2 sly beer drinking

    Task 2: Sly Beer Drinking

    You are the owner of a bar and you are very concerned that underage-drinking laws should be correctly enforced. Your bar is situated in a university town, and you suspect that some of your clientele might be students not yet old enough to drink legally. At Present, the laws states that if a person drinks an alcoholic drink, then they must be more than 21 years old. Which card or cards must you definitely need to turn over to determine whether the rule is broken in the case of any of the four cards.

    Post traumatic stress disorder

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    Post traumatic stress disorder ptsd

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying or unbearable event.

    • Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping.

    • In some cases, though, the symptoms can get worse or last for months or even years.

    • Sometimes they may completely shake up your life.



    • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time

    • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event

    • Feeling emotionally numb

    • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed

    • Hopelessness about the future

    • Trouble concentrating

    Symptoms cont

    Symptoms Cont.

    • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

    • Irritability or anger

    • Overwhelming guilt or shame

    • Trouble sleeping

    • Being easily startled or frightened

    Hanna s ptsd

    Hanna’s PTSD

    • “Hanna had been behaving oddly for days, moody and peremptory, and at the same time palpably under some kind of pressure that was absolutely tormenting her and left her acutely sensitive and vulnerable. She pulsed herself together and held herself tight as if to stop herself from exploding. When I asked what was upsetting her so, she snapped at me” (Schlink 79).

    • Hanna avoids discussing her past with Michael

    • Hanna is irritable

    • Hanna has difficulty maintaining close relationships

    Michael s ptsd

    Michael’s PTSD

    • “The days went by and I felt sick. I took pains to make sure my parents and my brothers and sisters noticed nothing. I joined in the conversation at table a little, ate a little, and when I had to throw up, I managed to make it to the toilet. I went to school and to the swimming pool. I spent my afternoons there in an out-of-the-way place where no one would look for me” (Schlink 82-83).

    • Michael distances himself from his family

    • Michael secludes himself

    • Michael has difficulty maintaining close relationships

    German national ptsd

    German National PTSD

    • “we may not inquire because to inquire is to make the horrors an object of discussion, even if the horrors themselves are not questioned, instead of accepting them as something in the face of which can only fall silent in revulsion, shame, and guilt” (Schlink 104).

    • Germans avoid talking about the Holocaust

    • Germans feel guilty

    • Sense of numbness



    • “It was like being a prisoner in the death camps who survives month after month and becomes accustomed to the life, while he registers with an objective eye the horror of the new arrivals: registers it with the same numbness that he brings to the murders and deaths themselves. All survivor literature talks about this numbness, in which life’s functions are reduced to a minimum, behavior becomes completely selfish and indifferent to others, and gassing and burning are everyday occurrences.” (Schlink 103)

    • After humans are exposed to intense trauma, they are reduced to their id.

    Philosophy part ii

    Philosophy Part II

    Hegel and the other

    Hegel and “the Other”

    • Hegel one of the first to follow idea of “the Other”:

      • Concept that involves the separation of two people

      • not just philosophical

        • social, political, and economic

    • “the Other”: to see separateness between you and the other person, a sense of alienation is created, and you try to fix it with synthesis

    The other applied to the reader

    “the Other” Applied to The Reader

    • Bloom’s Taxonomy

      • Synthesis: trying to put things together to create a new whole.

      • Michael and Hanna

      • Michael follows “Other” concept

      • Feels sense of longing alienation because of “Other”

      • Michael wants to help her, seen by constant thought about how to let people know she did not write report

      • Resorts to synthesis .

    Unable to follow philosophy

    Unable to Follow Philosophy

    • However, limitation to extent of synthesis

    • “One has to leave him the last word, but one must talk to him, to him and not someone else behind his back” (Schlink 143).

    • Guilt, Trauma, and Morals

    • Reason/Logic removed because of guilt

    • Old style of German idealism defeated during these times

    Everybody knew

    “Everybody Knew”

    Everybody knew1

    “Everybody Knew”

    Activity two

    Activity Two

    The sinking boat

    The Sinking Boat

    You are on a sinking boat and you are only able to save one of the two people on the boat. One is a 1 year old boy and the other is a 5 year old boy. Which boy will you save? Why?

    The sinking boat1

    The Sinking Boat

    You are on a sinking boat and you are only able to save one of the two people on the boat. One is a 20 year old man and the other is a 40 year old man. Which man will you save? Why?

    Coping with guilt via reason and philosophy

    Coping with guilt via reason and philosophy

    Denial this first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss david kessler

    Denial: “This first stage of grieving helps us to survive the loss.”-David Kessler

    • “…it took a while before I stopped watching for her everywhere…” (87)

    • Michael cannot accept that Hanna is now gone

      • As a result of traumatic separation from someone who was such a huge part of his life, he goes through a drawn-out painful process of denial that affects him as a whole.

    Denial continued

    Denial continued

    • Germany as a country denies that such an atrocity could have taken place in their home, then was so quickly eradicated through de-nazification

      • The guilty parties deny in favor of themselves

        • The Reader: the other defendants

        • Germany: Nazis

      • Those innocent or unaware deny because they simply could not believe it happened

        • The Reader: Hanna

        • Germany: the people mislead by Nazi propaganda and lies

    Humanity on trial what would you do

    Anger: “Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss” -David Kessler

    • “I adopted a posture of arrogant superiority” (88).

    • Michael becomes distastefully callous

      • Involvement within his community and social sphere drops.

      • Treatment of other people, even relatives, is harsh and cruel

        • “After we slept together, she realized I wasn’t interested in her…” (89).

        • “…he wanted to bless me, and I told him…[I] didn’t want it” (89).

      • Sophie was used and discarded heartlessly by Michael

      • His dying grandfather had his last blessing refused by his grandson

    Coping with grief and denial

    Coping with grief and denial

    Coping with grief

    Coping with Grief

    • What is grief?

    • Catharsis via expression

    • Talk with friends

      • “I tried to talk about the problem with friends” (138)

    • Writing in a journal

      • “At first I wanted to write our story in order to be free of it…” (217)

    Coping with grief continued

    Coping with Grief continued

    • Inhibiting the coping

      • Compulsive behaviors

    • Resolving the grief

      • Acknowledge and accept + and - feelings

    Coping with denial

    Coping with Denial

    • “As the individual moves through the experience and slowly acknowledges its impact, the initial denial and disbelief will diminish” (webMD)

    • How do you cope with denial?

    Activity three how does one reach absolution

    Activity Three:How does one reach absolution?

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