The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:54 pm

Tonight's question moves us onto another topic: Who do you think was primarily responsible for Katharina’s plight? Support your answer.
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby Buster » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:10 am

I'm just going to throw this out there and head out to work:
I think a case could be made that Katharina herself was responsible. She made a lot of choices all along the way. I'm not talking about whether her decisions were right or wrong, just that she made them. Having the courage of one's convictions has consequences, however "right" one may be.

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby nebraska » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:33 am

Buster wrote:I'm just going to throw this out there and head out to work:
I think a case could be made that Katharina herself was responsible. She made a lot of choices all along the way. I'm not talking about whether her decisions were right or wrong, just that she made them. Having the courage of one's convictions has consequences, however "right" one may be.

You have a very valid point. I have been pondering this question since I first read it yesterday -- I think there is enough blame to spread around, but Katharina herself is the common denominator, especially if we are talking about the events leading up to her arrest rather than the entire story line. The men she chose to involve herself with contributed to the situation. It could be argued that her married lover bore a responsibility for coming to her apartment and being seen; it could be argued that Ludwig bore some responsibility for not being forthcoming with the truth about himself immediately. But in the end, Katharina made the choice to be involved with them. (But after her arrest, I think the blame falls on other shoulders.)

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby Liz » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:51 am

nebraska wrote: But in the end, Katharina made the choice to be involved with them. (But after her arrest, I think the blame falls on other shoulders.)

I agree with both of you, that her actions resulted in the allegations brought against her. Although she was a sharp woman, I think she had poor judgment and made some mistakes.
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby marija » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:02 pm

Liz wrote:
nebraska wrote: But in the end, Katharina made the choice to be involved with them. (But after her arrest, I think the blame falls on other shoulders.)

I agree with both of you, that her actions resulted in the allegations brought against her. Although she was a sharp woman, I think she had poor judgment and made some mistakes.


Yes, I agree with you, but would add that it is even more evident in the film that Beizmenne a lot of information passed on directly to 'the newspaper'.
I think even if Katharina would have gone more careful with her statements, Tötges would have the infos from Beizmenne lurid enough to ruin her reputations and thus her into a corner.
I believe Katharina has no chance because Beizmenne thought since her arrest that she were guilty. He treated her very condescending all the time, in my opinion.
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:40 pm

I'm going to look at this question from a more sociological perspective. I don't hold Katharina responsible because she simply didn't know a thing about the fellow she took home. We get no sense that any one she knew had warned her about a fugitive. She had no sense that she would meet someone who was a fugitive at her good friend's Mardi Gras party. She saw a nice guy, she took a chance. It could have ended far differently -- a long term relationship started on the fly. We all know people who've met under the oddest conditions. You never know when you meet a person, no matter what you believe, how very good or very bad the experience is going to be.

If her plight then is what happened to her and not what she did, I would blame society in general. What I mean by this: West German society permitted the type of police investigation that was launched, and the same society put up with yellow journalism. Let me be very clear. I am not blaming West Germany. What I am saying is that ultimately when bad things happen to individuals in any society it is because the society in question has decided that some "bad" things will happen because they regard other things as more or equally important.

In this instance -- an efficient and persistent police department who would do everything possible to figure out if Katharina was withholding anything essential and a free press where competition determines ultimate success.

We can turn this around to the US and think about gun violence. Another country looks at children's death due to gun accidents in the US and shakes its collective head. But, many states in the US weigh possible bad things against potential good things and decide -- yes, gun rights weigh more than the potential of gun accidents involving children.

At the same time, every society needs, from time to time, to re-weigh its decisions. For West Germany, Boll and others felt police eagerness and out of control journalism were negatives they didn't want to allow. In the US some people feel any potential death of a child outweighs the right to have guns. In the end, societies change all the time.
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:47 pm

marija wrote:
Liz wrote:
nebraska wrote: But in the end, Katharina made the choice to be involved with them. (But after her arrest, I think the blame falls on other shoulders.)

I agree with both of you, that her actions resulted in the allegations brought against her. Although she was a sharp woman, I think she had poor judgment and made some mistakes.


Yes, I agree with you, but would add that it is even more evident in the film that Beizmenne a lot of information passed on directly to 'the newspaper'.
I think even if Katharina would have gone more careful with her statements, Tötges would have the infos from Beizmenne lurid enough to ruin her reputations and thus her into a corner.
I believe Katharina has no chance because Beizmenne thought since her arrest that she were guilty. He treated her very condescending all the time, in my opinion.
Marija :wave:

I have to admit that it has been a little while since I finished the book and since then I have watched both films (the German one and the American one with Marlo Thomas) and while I thought both films were relatively true to the book, I am sure I will probably, at some point, begin to muddle all three sources together. Sigh. I probably need to read the book again!

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Feb 19, 2014 6:55 pm

fireflydances wrote: I don't hold Katharina responsible because she simply didn't know a thing about the fellow she took home.

But that is exactly why I hold her responsible for her situation. Perhaps women were not as aware of stranger danger at the time this book was written as today, but that seems to me like risky behavior in any day and age. He might have been a nice guy, but he also could have been an axe murderer for all she knew. She might have been naive, but that choice had consequences. That poor choice set the rest in motion.

After the arrest, yes, there were many others who created and compounded misery for her! As I said, there was plenty of blame to go around. Certainly the police and the press and the public who swallowed it all whole.

So the points you make about society are valid. But I don't think Katharina was blameless.

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby stroch » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:58 pm

We all are responsible for our own acts, despite social pressures, limited understanding of consequences, poor impulse control, or ill considered choices. The society one lives in, whether repressive, licentious, progressive, or taboo ridden is a circumstance of life, not a stricture controlling behavior. If one holds the reporters, officials, and police accountable for their behavior toward Katharina, it follows that she is to be held to account for hers.

Everyone's moral code is certainly different, and some might feel it is justified to murder a person because they have unfairly maligned you -- as in "disrespected" you. Where does it end?
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:32 pm

In another words because she chose to make love to a man she's responsible for her plight? But that doesn't make any more sense than saying if you befriend a woman in your neighborhood and she ends up stealing something from you it's your fault.

I think we look at making love differently. And that's pretty much beyond the question at hand. I think we are looking specifically at Katharina's plight, her injury. What happened to her.
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby RamblinRebel » Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:21 am

fireflydances wrote:I don't hold Katharina responsible because she simply didn't know a thing about the fellow she took home.
I agree with you up to that point, but once she was brought into questioning, and she found out that he was a suspected murderer and not an army deserter - or whatever the line was that Ludwig gave her - well, that's where I can start putting some of the burden on her. She was extraordinarily protective of someone she knew for less than 24 hours, which I found odd. I mean, no matter how wonderful the guy seemed that night, I think I'd be a little upset that he didn't inform me of that tiny little piece of information, that you know, might put my life at risk or whatever. If she had just told the investigators where he was hiding that first morning, it would have been over pretty quickly. But then, that wouldn't be a very good story would it? :)

marija wrote:Yes, I agree with you, but would add that it is even more evident in the film that Beizmenne a lot of information passed on directly to 'the newspaper'.
I think even if Katharina would have gone more careful with her statements, Tötges would have the infos from Beizmenne lurid enough to ruin her reputations and thus her into a corner.
I believe Katharina has no chance because Beizmenne thought since her arrest that she were guilty. He treated her very condescending all the time, in my opinion.
Marija
Yes, yes! Somewhere between the poppy seed crepes, strawberries and creme brulee, it became obvious that this Luding fellow was controlling the News. How wild do you want this story to be? Strawberries and creme, ice cream, or strawberries, ice cream AND whipped cream? So I definitely put a lot of the blame on Tötges and Luding for providing the motivation that drove Katharina to commit murder. Not only did they mess with her life, but they also messed with the lives of those she was closest to, which I believe contributed greatly to her mindset when she made the decision to kill him. It certainly contributed to my empathy for her plight!

(I need to figure out how to type accent marks when posting!)

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby stroch » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:39 am

fireflydances wrote:In another words because she chose to make love to a man she's responsible for her plight? But that doesn't make any more sense than saying if you befriend a woman in your neighborhood and she ends up stealing something from you it's your fault.

I think we look at making love differently. And that's pretty much beyond the question at hand. I think we are looking specifically at Katharina's plight, her injury. What happened to her.


No, not in those other words. I wrote exactly what I meant. As for the hypothetical friend, you are not responsible for anyone's actions but your own.

Being responsible for what happens to you does not mean you are right or wrong, and does not imply "fault." It means recognizing that your choices have consequences that you yourself put in motion, intended or not. You are confusing volition with guilt. Perhaps Katharina's choices are a way of resisting, of refusing to succumb to an intolerable situation and are therefore heroic instead of evidence of victim-hood. Who then is responsible? Outside forces?

My response had nothing at all to do with making love.
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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby nebraska » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:26 am

I don't think the responsibility came from "making love", it came from picking a strange man up at a party and taking him home with her, and she chose to get involved on a higher level by helping him escape and hiding him. She might have been accused of being an accomplice if they had gone out for burgers and fries and taken a walk that evening, but she chose to go further.

I also agree that she was fast to defend a man she had known less than 24 hours, but in re-reading her interrogation I think now that she became defiant because the police were being rude (for lack of better word at the moment). She dug in her heels and said in effect, "You can't push me around like that! I'll show you!" but it backfired. And when she was told why the police were looking for Ludwig, she may not have believed he was guilty of anything and so she chose to protect him. But in choosing defiance, she is responsible for escalating the situation.

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby Buster » Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:09 pm

stroch wrote:
Perhaps Katharina's choices are a way of resisting, of refusing to succumb to an intolerable situation and are therefore heroic instead of evidence of victim-hood. Who then is responsible? Outside forces?


This is what I was driving at in my original response at the top of this thread. Katharina is a product of her past, naive perhaps, possibly a black-and-white thinker; her upbringing and experience inform her response to an intense situation. Standing up for one's convictions can be heroic - or incredibly stupid. Martyrdom without achieving anything seems kind of pointless, but I think that Katharina did achieve something personal. She stood up for herself after a lifetime of serving, and she did it in the name of truth and passion.

I like to believe that we are each responsible for our reactions to stimuli - "He made me do it" is a pretty shabby excuse.

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Re: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: Question #8 Katharina's Plight

Unread postby Liz » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:05 pm

nebraska wrote: I don't think the responsibility came from "making love", it came from picking a strange man up at a party and taking him home with her, and she chose to get involved on a higher level by helping him escape and hiding him.

Exactly. She has to take some responsibility for that. And then she lied about it.

Don't misunderstand me. For some unknown reason she chose to fall head over heals for this guy. I believe in passion. In fact, I thought it was longer than 24 hours that she knew him. But I may have just assumed because of her strong reaction to his arrest and her passion for him. And if I had been in love I might have done the same (helped him escape). Let's also recognize that the crime he said he committed was not as serious as the one he really did. So, she was uninformed of the facts. BUT all of this doesn't mean she's blameless.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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