Hanna Krall: games with identity based on novel Subtenant

The study of the identity of the story of the writer H. Kroll in the novel "Subtenant". Contrasting the experience of the "Holocaust-Extermination-Shoah" to the traditional narration, which is based on linearity, weighty "beginnings" and "endings".

26,8 K

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Rzeszow University

Hanna Krall: games with identity based on novel Subtenant

Malgorzata Bozek


The article is an attempt to describe Hanna Krall's narrative identity in the novel Subtenant. The experience of Holocaust - Extermination - Shoah denies the traditional story, which bases on linearity, significant beginning and endings, cause-and-effect connections between events. It seems than, that suitable would be recalling to the research of philosophers, semiotics and linguists, who set the problem of identity in wider context: the expression of experience. The identity bases on anti - narrative impulses. The structure of story constitutes on decision for breaking up with traditional determinants of good, understandable story and introduce breaking the course of narration into loosely connected segments. Such methods are used by Hanna Krall in the analysed novel. Her poetry bases on games with understatements not only with recipient, but also narrator and work's main character.

Key words: Hanna Krall, Subtenant, Holocaust, author's style, The structure of story, identity.

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Hanna Krall - reporter, writer, scriptwriter. Writing the Word down is her duty, especially towards people, who similarly to her, survived Extermination. Preferably she lets the characters of her reports speak. She is always somewhere at a side, ready to listen again to the same stories in order to once more soak in the sadness, which doesn't accept, but perfectly understands. Is it possible to escape from it while it is present in every humane testimony? - she asks and soon adds:

(...) My true beginning is II World War. My childhood was sad. Now when I watch old photos, I pity myself. How poor I was - I think to myself. I don't have any will to reminisce about my own sadness and for sure not in the first person. I narrate about it sometimes, but in third (...) The sadness has to have some form, some rhythm. Sadness without form is shameless [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 52].

In conversation with Wojciech Tochman she adds:

(. ) I give up being literary. I mean the decorativeness of words, decorativeness of metaphors, opening plumes. My form consists in restraint. There is this Mondrian's painting - New York . It consists of vertical and horizontal lines. This line can be art, like this sentences without ornaments [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 54].

Reporter rarely gives interview. If any, than most often she talks about meetings without the characters of her reports and novels: If I didn't believe in Great Scriptwriter than, before I started writing, I would believed thanks to stories that I learn. And life would be scary, if there was no one to tell it to [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 63].

Krall hides behind others stories. She rarely interjects facts from her own past. She reminisces with tight throat, shortly, dispassionately. It seems that they also happened to someone else. In conversation with Jacek Antczak she consequently avoids speaking in first person:

Little, blacky girl with huge eyes is now old, tired women, who wonders what to do with life, what has she done wise, what stupid, and what hasn't she done at all? [Antczak 2007: 11].

Historians reproaches her for always writing one reportage - the story of inevitability of jewish Fate. This way she keeps coming back to the times, when brightness was at the Aryan side and blackness was associated with Jewish face, that has no hope any more. It caused rather fear. Krall answers:

I write about fate, that happened to Jews, Poles, Germans (...) I tell about single stories. I want readers to sympathise and one can sympathise only in single person. But there is a lie in this singularity. Because the whole nation was sentenced. [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 73].

Everything in the writer's life happened, could happen or never took place. Krall consequently avoids literality. She associates confessions with kitsch, but - as she admits - there is big potential in such stories. They have clear structure close to myth. Krall reveals in the interviews only that, which can help the readers of her reports, especially novels, in which autobiographical plots shows up on special rules: they blurs the truth rather than revealing or idealising it. Such kind of game with recipients is used for building Hanna Krall's narrative identity - ambiguous, vibrating, multiplied. identity novel subtenant narration

(...) What should I talk about? About grandpa In Treblinka? About granny in cellar? That they buried her in the garden during rising? (...) I remember father from only one photography. Smiling, mum in veil. (...) I don't even know where he died. Spirit told me, that in Majdanek, (...) but historian from Lublin accounts, that if the date is true, father died in Belzc (...) I've had enough of this family martyrdom [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 74]. From this unwillingness to confessions comes Krall's writing. And the obsessive belief that everything should be written down, before it's too late.

The subject of the presented article is the attempt to identify Hanna Krall's narrative identity - but not in reports, but the novel Subtenant. Reasoned seems the question in the circle of which research tradition her writing should be considered, if

(...) the post-modern human is torn apart, he struggles between mismatched pieces of sensations, experiences and adventures, from which he unavailingly tries to set up a reasonable image of life with aim and destination [Bauman 1994: 11].

Critical must be the respond for research attitude brought out by Piotr Jakubowski - the author of treatise Identity Traps. Between Narration and Literature, based on the belief, that:

twentieth-century humanities developed still living belief about human life as a story and (...) necessary condition for constitution of individual as moral subject is the ability of narrative arranging of one's life (A. MacIntyre, P. Ricoeur, Ch. Taylor - add. MB) [Jakubowski, 2016: 22].

Such outlined perspective of reading ideas contained in Hanna Krall's prose can turn out as too capacious and can even led researchers into mistake. The experience of Extermination denies the traditional story, which bases on linearity, significant beginning and endings, cause-and-effect connections between events. It seems than, that suitable would be recalling to the research of philosophers, semiotics and linguists, who set the problem of identity in wider context: the expression of experience [Jakubowski 2016]. The identity bases on anti - narrative impulses. The structure of story constitutes on decision for breaking up with traditional determinants of good, understandable story and introduce breaking the course of narration into loosely connected segments. The attempt of reconciling both ways of narrating about world, that is at one side the model of identity funded on set of stories setting the patterns of behaving or values hierarchy and on the other on acknowledging humans rights to giving up to experience, which is not subject to traditional narration, assumes Zygmunt Bauman:

(...) (identity) is not given as a gift or peremptory sentence; it is something that is constructed and what can be constructed in different ways [Bauman 1994: 15].

The traditional model of story worked out by XIX century writers was consequently disintegrated by - as claims Julia Kristeva in sketch The Might of Distaste:

literature that takes heritage of apocalypse and carnival to understand, that narrative thread is a thin membrane, constantly endangered with breaking (...) If narration is still led, its character and texture changes: cracks, mysteries, shortages, understatements, breaks appear...identity must be yelled out or described with maximal stylistic intensity - by language of rage, obscenity or rhetoric that makes text close to poetry [Kristeva 2007: 20].

You can also, like Hanna Krall, in the novel Subtenant, speak about pain, sadness and disintegration of values, abandoning excess of words, for silence and white spaces, which Teresa Walas calls silence spaces [Walas 1993]. It is a consequence of experiences that cannot be understood or described without taking the perspective of Extermination. Things, that happened during II World War verified the approach to human as an individual with clearly specified value system. Identity strategies recalled by Zygmunt Bauman turn out to be helpful. The author of Postmodern personal benchmark creates four figures in order to name modern narrative structures: stroller, wanderer, tourist and player. This way he expresses the anxiety and impossibility of creating by an individual such kind of story, that will be a metaphor of human's life as a pilgrimage - that is linear narrative construction. In postmodern culture Piotr Jakubowski finds the source of dilemmas held by man lost in the carnival of temporal modes [Jakubowski 2016]. He is so helpless, that he can't create a canon, meaning a set of constant axiological references, to give sense to each life decision. The world broke into little pieces. Necessary seems though constituting an adequate narration, which will justify new place of human in widely understood nowadays. Anti - narrative strategies seems in this situation a rescue for writers seeking form and artistic expression for dramatic experiences. Witnessing Extermination is a paradigm of boundary experience, which - when taking Karl Jaspers definition:

(. ) will never become a subject of a contracted arrangement between speaker and listener [Jaspers 1978: 36].

Hannah Arendt writes in Human condition that (...) every sadness can be bear, when they are seized into stories [Arendt 2010: 423]. Under one condition, that this stories will be taken by readers as theirs. Maybe even as a warning. That is how Hanna Krall understands it, who asked by Wojciech Tochman - what for should we imagine the last moments of people going for death? - answers:

To get scared. Those stories didn't happen once and for all. When man reads about them, he should be scared. Because this is man isn't at all sure, if he would behave right then. [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 34].

Piotr Jakubowski asks a fundamental question: (...) why a broken structure would be adequate to experiences of enslavement, humiliation, disdain? [Jakubowski 2016]. The answer is given by Julia Kristeva:

(...) that's Simple: such text has creases, pleats, tangles, its operating strategy is dispersion, not integration. Moreover one thing can be told in so many different , sometimes not possible to combine together, ways. [Kristeva 2007: 34].

With such definition of the problem of finding a proper yet believable narration is connected firstly the attitude of author, ready or experiments that breaks u with linearity of story and on the other hand his conviction about a variability of human fates. It is an effect of experiences, that escape explicit assessments. You can't build the identity of author - narrator and character, when their life is filled with emptiness, lack of connections to the past and non - rootedness in tradition, which participants and also creators are Others. At Hanna Krall - the ones with bright face. Even in the context o her Subtenant. The basis of narration in this novel are: fragmentarity, multiplication of images - the existence of many variants of being in one man. Such attempts allow catching the truth about the world who stopped respecting values, got lost in the postmodern rush, betrayed the traditional identity. Twentieth century humanities made the man the waypoint. Such assumption may turn out false in the context of experiencing Extermination. Man have not found enough strength and determination, to create a space to meeting Others. According to Paul Ricoeur that is because:

(...) we always exist between despair and hope, lack of sense and sense, hurt and healing, insult and goodness, we live in slits left by life [Ricoeur 1992: 43].

The perspective of Christian ontology by Canadian philosopher lets understand the characters in Hanna Krall's novels. It gives hope, that it is possible to regain dignity, past and rootedness, if our purpose becomes telling stories, which allows lifting humankind to the highest significance - this way indisputable. Slits in the view of Ricoeur are not limits, but such reorganisation of characters life which would allow them to discover themselves in the obligatory rules. It is a paradigm of seeking happiness in the environment contaminated by impossibility of forgiveness. And yet - according to the author of Bringing out Goodness - it is the only right way. Under the condition, that the purpose of acting people will be unremembering [Ricoeur 1992] the past and forgiveness - not to others, but themselves. Piotr Jakubowski calls forgiveness getting free from the absurd of life and giving it sense back. It is hard, because we don't know the consequences of our choices. It is a key issue, which appears in each piece of literature contaminated with Extermination. If the effect of mindful act of characters will be suffering or inability to respect themselves, they will be made to gain the perspective of hangman and victim. Suffering characters attribute themselves guilt and shame. Though their guilt is faultless, it makes them unable to act, to break free from the circle o evil, which would be rebirth. Aleksandra Ubertowska emphasises with full firmness, that experiencing Shoah (Holocaust) caused irreversible consequences in the attitude of authors, whose fate was Extermination. It also influenced the inability of connecting events and creating their symbolic representation. Because of that:

(.. .)gravitating human testimonies in the direction of rudimentary narrative forms, using creaks in the communication system, fragmentation , leading light of the text representing this, what is untold, etreme minimalism, observing how the stubs of events breaks on the unfulfilled promise of story [Ubertowska 2007: 34-35].

When adopting Hanna Krall's assumption, that writing down the world with its entire complexity and ambiguity is her vocation and only duty, it turns out that a fully justified solution is breaking free from the factual pact and breaking up with autobiographical character of narration. It transpires that the rescue are anti - narrations, which assume, that the dispersion of world of values can be described by episodes, multiplications, many identity variants and fiction. The last one liberates the reporter - writer from full trustworthiness. Everything could have been different than what she remembered. The coercion for recounting justifies all rhetorical devices used by Krall in Subtenant - novel: (...) irritating, incomprehensible, full of dissembles and mixed threads. Nothing is obvious here. Sometimes the author is narrator, narrator the main character and conversely. You have to turn back to some sequences in order to understand Krall's idea, who stopped being a recounting reporter and became a writer who creates fates in the principle of probability. Something Simple happened for real or could have happened or never took place but is very likely. It does not matter, because the arranging value here is the structure, which gives sense to sadness. [ Walc 1987: 35].

Subtenant sets in the post-war narration dedicated to the experience of Extermination (Shoah). The book was released in 1985, so during martial law. Favorable were Zofia and Kazimierz Romanowicz, who ran publishing house Libella in Paris. Thanks to their devotion Subtenant reached at first to emigrant readers - also the ones of Jew roots. Only a couple of years later it was officially released in Poland. For Hanna Krall it was a warning about what can happen again, come back in even more scary form. The danger of such state emerged from the lack of definition of roles for the main characters of tragic event. If assuming Raul Hilberg's research perspective, who contained the experience of Holocaust in terms close to phenomenology of happening, the separation of passive and active participants for causers, victims and witnesses becomes clear.

(...) Most hidden were the causers, most visible - victims: visible to everyone, it was easy to identify and count them in each phase of Extermination [Hilberg 2007: 256].

Such categorisation is connected with the concept of visibility, that is responsibility for the ones, who could not use help. For different reasons. Often because of fear or aggression, instigating anti-Semite attitudes. It is hardest to asses witnesses. Many of them tried to eject from memory the images, that overgrown their cognitive abilities. A couple of years after the release of Subtenant Feliks Tych studied post-war diaries and journals, in which he searched for testimonies of Extermination written from Polish perspective:

(...) authors of most of analysed texts either did not register the occurrence of Extermination or did not see its civilisation uniqueness. For some of them it was only an episode. Many realized though, that they touch a crime totally unfamiliar to the civilisation they have grown up in and its moral canons. [Tych 1999: 44].

It is necessary - following Tych's statements -explicitly assume, that displacing the observer's attitude was experience of many Polish participants of Holocaust. The author of Long Shade of Extermination ascertains:

(...) we will probably never find out, in how many cases the disappearance of Jewish subject from big count of war memories was caused by absolute indifference for Other's fate and in how much by the will for strangling some traumatic experience or moral unease [Tych 1999: 67].

Hanna Krall in Subtenant gives up adopting Jewish perspective. She writes about human Fate. She writes about what happened during II World War. She does not asses, but looks on, taking care of being always as close to life as possible, preferably singular. In the mentioned novel the writer pays attention to the problem of subtenance, which is inability to root in the world who lost human's face. Maria - narrator is the daughter of major Krall, so it can be assumed, that she is an alter ego of the author. She is Pole, who together with her mother, during Warsaw rising, kept little Jewish girl. She situates herself on bright, Aryan side. She has past and tradition behind her, to which she can always recall. Eponymous Subtenant - Marta is Jew - without grandparents, without jars and preserves, without future. She has black face. She avoids other's sight. She believes she does not deserve anything. Maybe besides wardrobe, which became a substitute of her safe being, but also humiliation. Marta is on the black side. Krall doesn't hide though, that in her seemingly fictitious biography you can, and even should, seek many possible events from the writer's life. The Subtenant's author builds narrative identity basing on understatements and variability of human's fate. Truth mixed with fiction spreads on the novel's pages patently thanks to antinomy: Maria - Marta, Marta - Maria. Maybe they are one person. Maybe their presence, broken into two characters serves the author for creating master autofiction, because for sure not for autobiography in traditional understanding. Reporter - writer undertakes a game with her own identity. She builds the image of Extermination's witness, lending narrator and character her own experiences, told from different perspectives. Hunting these entanglements and dependencies is fascinating journey, yet demanding attention from readers. Jan Walc calls Subtenant book about:

Jewish complexes sourced in deep childhood spent behind the wardrobe, the feeling of less worthiness that made them look down not even because of fear, but just by a habit before fear appears. Nothing can be withstand to childhood behind wardrobe [Walc 1988: 45].

Krall admits, that she knows well this little, black girls, who had to hide in strange houses to survive. But, was survival the greatest value? - she asks many times. Even if yes - it was marked by tragic past. The future had to be imagined, constructed from pieces, fragments of remembered poems, dreams and goodbye waves. Marta - Subtenant also had to cut off from Jewish Fate, which in her life was connected with the necessity for hiding and wearing mask. Maria - narrator reminds her:

(...) mother and I put a babushka deep on your forehead, but it wasn't enough, because eyes was still visible, and was the eyes what was the worst. Luckily my mother came up with an idea: a stone. When walking on the street you kicked a stone by foot (...) thanks to that you could look down without arousing suspicions. [Krall 1985: 34].

In the further part of book narrator describes a house near Warsaw called orphan's house. Maria visited Marta there after war. In reality Hanna Krall was put into such nursery after liberation. She gave that experience to Marta but also Maria, so it can be reasonably suspected that from the description of grim, extremely grown up Jewish children starts in the novel the writer's conscious game with identity. Actually, which one was in that house? Both? All? Narrator says:

Our ex Subtenant wasn't shown in that house to anyone: the story of person hidden in big, empty apartments couldn't make anyone serious interested (...) maybe because she came out of nowhere? Window in our apartment, that she never came close to (...) and pale yellow flowers at the passing did not constitute any world (...) it is a fact, that I, the daughter of mayor, did not need foreign worlds, Subtenant did [Kral 1985: 54].

Krall construct Marta's identity on fragile foundation of fabricated memories. Real was wardrobe, the owners of apartments, necrologies, windows and chrysanthemums on graves. But stories about mother's brother how did not manage to escape, father killed in Majdanek, grandfather with samovar and English family - not. From this pieces a linear story cannot be build. From that comes the accumulation of loose episodes, repetitions, question left unanswered. All this raw, without ornaments and decorations. My organism is surprisingly acquiescent to what life brings. There is no place for literary there - emphasises Krall [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015 : 55]. There is though place for rhythm, which breaks now and then, for blank spaces and stories, which doesn't have clearly outlined beginnings and endings. Is this how Extermination should be recounted? - asks the author of Subtenant.

Iwona Mandziej - the author of essay Between Report and Micronovel adds:

What specific had done does, who have nowhere to go on the 1st of November, that they have to undergo a therapy of being bright , that they have to chase away this little girl by force, deprive a part of their tragic fate (...) that thay have to correct their past? [Mandziej 2007: 11].

Krall find the answer: fate became their share - they had to be rescued. Witnesses of events usually acted, victims stayed passive. Awaiting death, the inability of changing life, locked them in mentioned by Paul Ricoeur slits . If they managed to survive, they had to get rid of past. It was the biggest load. It did not allow to change face for bright.

Narrator - Maria, who in the first part of novel is a young girl, daughter of mayor Krall, in the second part introduces herself as a painter:

I wear oversized sweater and rough boots and I have my own method for grinding primer (...) in the interview gave after coming back from Biennale I said that a good method for brightness is articulating black. The only reasonable thing that can be done to black is turning it into art, as did Chaplin, Allen and [Krall 1985: 15]

Maria - painter looks for way of helping Marta - Subtenant getting rid of unwanted luggage - black. Important for understanding the antinomy of brightness and black turns out to be narrator's words, who in this moment becomes Hanna Krall herself, that is the author of novel - about women from Velasquez painting. The work of art presents two women - Maria and Marta. Jesus comes to them.

(...) Marta is in the foreground - tired, sad, ugly, cleaning a fish, while behind her sister is at Lord's feet, bright, spiritual, slimmer. Such aile - uplifted. This is in French, from the word aile -wing [Krall 1985: 68].

Bright is closer to Jesus, black - further, because she holds the burden of ugliness, because she gave her permission for getting overwhelmed by something she didn't want. In the twelfth, most important for understanding the mentioned dichotomy, chapter of novel, Maria - painter decides to write a doctorate in victimology. It is a science about victims of violence.

Is a man sentenced for black? - she asks her thesis's promoter [Krall 1985: 69] It is a key, maybe most important, question for understanding the injustice of human's Fate. Some are born in bright space, some are black right from the beginning - convicted for fear, humiliation, chocking pain and inability of lifting eyes, yet Jewish eyes are the worst and they are hard to hide. Maria repeats a couple of times:

The choice exists between the good and evil, not between brightness and black. Man agrees, when he no longer has a choice. Maybe the essence of black is inner allowance for it? [Krall 1985: 70].

What does it mean for Marta - Subtenant - hidden in childhood Jew out of nowhere? She was born without this blemish, she gained together with the experience of Extermination. She became marked and written into space, from which only few managed to get out witout consequences. Marta agrees for Maria's offer. She undergoes therapy. There is only one condition. She must admit to herself, that she is worse, marked. That's it for recognition. And the most important recommendation from therapy:

in order to practise brightness, one must live out the black, properly and to the end (...) a strange memory of forgotten things will open in you and for the first time in your life you will recount about clothes and wardrobe. You will live everything, that you did not want to live up to the end, because sadness disturbed you and deprived strength necessary for survival [Krall 1985: 71].

So, to get rid of black, a decision is needed about survival, denying shame, exiling from self the victim, who look into the eyes of executioner, seeking salvation in them. Jewish paradox - if someone looks at you, you will be saved. Maria advices:

you will weep out, laugh out, talk out, or even yawn out, because it is not enough to live up, it is also necessary to abreact, there are six ways for abreacting black [Krall 1985: 71]. There is nothing Marta wants more - being bright, so better, having past - preserves, chrysanthemums and grandpa with samovar who did not get rid of it even going to gas (that could be, but was it?). Marta wants, but is not ready. She hysterically reacts for Maria's words:

(...) will chase awal this girl for good. Sweetheart, it is necessary to finally tell her one day: I gave you much, didn't I? Paintings and rooms, and family, and white wine on the beach in Epidauros...Huh, happy childhood surely not...and now we politely say goodbye and any more day together, you understood me...if she still wouldn't want to go it is to stand for a minute and say: fuck of, girl, now, am I not expressing myself clear? (...) for black you can set yourself free, but brightness is incurable [Krall 1985: 91].

Black is curse, brightness a gift. Black, with its shame, humiliation, has to be cut off, even for the price of losing identity. It is a painful act, in which the Nation participated. Krall asks:

What is most important in the relation between the bright and the black? The fact, that the bright was witnesses of black's humiliation, abasement. Subtenant, who carries inside Maria and Marta is alone with her case and, sitting with bright at the table, she can't let them know that she also exists, she only has different situation with forefathers. The division for bright and black is not a division for betterness and worseness, or for deepness and shallowness. It is a division based on Fate. It is the kind of division for those, who could rescue and those who had to be rescued [Krall 1985: 75].

The construction of novel - growing from the need of building new identity, and even the game with different variants of own personality - gains at Krall form of autobiography understood as autofiction. Reader is a witness of creating many versions of events and facts from author's past. Her biography undergoes breakage, so many variants of same stories appear. The author introduces untrue scenes, loaded though by reliability or high level of plausibility.

Iwona Mandziej explains constructional breakage of novel:

I connect it with broken into half Polish - Jewish heart of Krall, which does not want to be in favour of any side engaged in surviving Extermination [Mandziej 2007: 5]. Getting rid of little, black girl is in Krall's novel connected with character's - Subtenant's need for new identity, who often takes features of Maria - narrator. New - consisting in ejecting these, what doesn't let live normally, speak, be brave. Won't such act put Marta in even worse non-existence? Wardrobe, fear for fail and exposure was surely a part of her holocaust personality. They built it in the opposition to the world, in which brightness ruled. This subject is worth analysing in the context of the reparation act. Paul Ricouer calls this way bringing back sense to life. It is not about getting rid of unwanted part of own experiences, even those more traumatic, but their re-creation, that is repairing. It seems harder, but does not allow for losing the sense of life, which in the Christian perspective of Canadian philosopher is the most tragic thing. Re - creation gives hope, is connected with forgiving yourself the pride coming out of the will of owning, which is being a part of bright society. In the case of Subtenant - Marta even graves, grandparents, chrysanthemums an orphan's house passing and fabricated memories. Such formulated postulate of full humanity connects at Ricouer with the new possibility of communication :

(...) suffering and losing sense are connected with inability of expression, with shortage of language, with metaphorical aphasia, while redemption and restitution keep in power the problem of communication [Ricoeur, 2008: 197].

It is a condition needed for constitution of new I , which can turn to others with its own testimony. In such outlined perspective Hanna Krall's words became even more understandable, who in describing world sees the only possibility for passing the truth about experience seemingly impossible to describe because of the immensity of tragic sensations. The narrator of Subtenant sees in the common experiencing of reality the chance for conquer rejection. In the final of novel she writes:

You can be with us. Only then, in our humiliation and fear, when they shoot to everyone. Only then. So you have much. FINALLY YOU CAN BE WITH US [Krall 1985:130]. Krall experiences mourning of writing because of mourning of memory . In Subtenant she is Maria and Marta, she is rescued and rescuing, finally she is a companion, who carries the load of infirmity. Even because of other character of her prose - doctor Marek Edelman, who newly constituted his identity - not giving up the trauma of Jewish rejection, however he got scared, when after leaving ghetto:

(...) he rode by tram happened to him a tragic thing. He longed to have no face (...) he felt he has a repellent, black face. The face from a poster Jews - lice - typhus fever. And here everyone stand around and have bright faces [Tochman, Szczygiel 2015: 81].


In conclusion, it is worth to distinctly mention: Hanna Krall's narrative identity in Subtenant comes out of Extermination experiences. The writer rejected the traditional method of recounting for ambiguous associations and many variants of her personality. She gives testimony - no matter, how much truth is in it, and how much plausible fabrication. She is witness and companion of everyone, who touched the tenacity of Jewish Fate.


1. Antczak J., 2007, Reporterka. Rozmowy z Hanne Krall, Warsaw.

2. Arendt H., 2010, Kondycja ludzka, Warsaw.

3. Bauman Z.,1994, Ponowoczesne wzory osobowosci, Sociologic Studies n. 2, p. 11.

4. Hilberg R., 2007, Sprawcy. Ofiary. Swiadkowie. Zaglada Zydow w latach 1939 - 1945, Warsaw.

5. Jakubowski P., 2016, Pulapki tozsamosci. Miqdzy narracje a literature, Cracow.

6. Jaspers K., 1978, Wybor pism. Sytuacje graniczne, Warsaw.

7. Krall H., 1985, Sublokatorka, Paris.

8. Kristeva J., 2007, Pot^ga obrzydzenia [in:] Czarne slonce. Depresja i melancholia, Cracow.

9. Mandziej I., 1998, Miqdzy reportazem a mikropowiescie. O Sublokatorce Hanny Krall, Pami^tnik Literacki nr 3, Warsaw.

10. Ricoeur P., 2008, Czas i opowiesc, Cracow.

11. Tochman W., Szczygiel., 2015, Krall, Warsaw.

12. Tych F., 1999, Dlugi cien Zaglady, Warsaw.

13. Ubertowska A., 2007, Swiadectwo, trauma, glos [in:] Literackie reprezentacje Holo- kaustu, Cracow.

14. Walc J., 1987, Pozostac sublokatorem [in:] Krytyka, nr 22, p. 269, 265-266, Warsaw


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