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Historical Analysis of The Painted Bird An obscure village in Poland sheltered from ideas and industrialization seemed a safe place to store ones most precious valuable a 6-year-old boy Or so it seemed to the parents who abandoned their only son to protect him from the Nazis in the beginning of Jerzy Kosinskis provocative 1965 novel The Painted Bird After his guardian Marta dies and her decaying corpse and hut are accidentally engulfed in flames the innocent young dark-haired dark-eyed outcast is obliged to trek from village to village in search of food shelter and companionship Beaten and caressed chastised and ignored the unnamed protagonist survives the abuse inflicted by men women children and beasts to be reclaimed by his parents 7 years latera cold indifferent and callous individual The protagonists experiences and observations demonstrate that the Holocaust was far too encompassing to be contained within the capsule of Germany with its sordid concentration camps and sociopolitical upheaval Even remote and backward villages of Poland were exposed and sucked into the maelstrom of conflict The significance of this point is that it leads to another logical progression Reaching further than the Polish villages of 1939 the novels implications extend to all of us Not only did Hitlers stain seep into even the smallest crannies of the world at that time it also spread beyond limits of time and culture Modern readers likewise are implicated because of our humanity The conscientious reader feels a sense of shame at what we as humans are capable of through our cultural mentalities That is one of the more profound aspects of Kosinskis work It is this sense of connectedness between cultures people and ideas that runs through the book continuously While the backward nonindustrialized villages of Poland seem at first glance to contrast sharply with civilized Nazi Germany Kosinski shows that the two were actually linked by arteries of brutality and bigotry Both cultures used some form
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