The Aftermath
Rhidian Brook

by

Sharon Fleming

Symbols
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
Beast

Beast is used in this novel to represent the past of the Nazi regime. The novel opens with a German youth, Ozi, wearing a British helmet as he claws his way through the devastated city. Ozi and his friends have spotted the beast, which appears to have very sharp teeth. Ozi says “With his black fur like a fancy lady’s coat. And those teeth like piano keys. We have to kill him. If we don’t, who will?” (Brook 10). The beast whose teeth resembles piano keys symbolizes the atrocities committed the Nazi regime such as killing people and incinerating the Jews (Ten, Van and Boender 37). Trying to kill the beast symbolizes Ozi’s effort to destroy the beast of the Nazi past and the hope of rebuilding the city.

The Missing painting

The missing painting in Lubert’s home is a symbol of Lubert’s mysterious past, and the prejudice behind the presumption that British women have not only on him but also to all the Germans. During the party at Lewis’ residence, Mrs. Burnham is the first to notice a dark space on the wall depicting a missing painting. Mrs. Burnham says “German houses are full of those dark spaces on the wall…don’t look so shocked. They all had them” (Brook 130). The dark spaces indicate the missing painting, which British relate to Germans’ previous association with the Nazi regime. Mrs. Burnham’s assumption that all Germans had Hitler’s painting portrays the mistrust British women have against the Germans, regardless of possessing a clearance certificate or not.

Frieda’s Chamber Pot

Frieda’s chamber pot symbolizes territorialism. It is evident from the novel that Frieda was unhappy about the new arrangement and, thus, bitterly taunted Edmund by peeing in her chamber pot and taking the urine to him in her old room. “Frieda…squatted over the chamber pot. When she had finished, she lifted the chamber pot and carried it out on to the landing” (Brook 59). Frieda is angry with Colonel Lewis for requisitioning their home as well as the British who are occupying her city, Hamburg. Frieda’s chamber pot, which is full of urine, symbolizes Frieda’s contempt and resentment against the British. Frieda’ chamber pot also represents her, marking her territory.

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