Berlin Stories

The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood, are a collection of short stories that are based on the experiences of Isherwood when he lived in inter-war Germany. Each different chapter consists of a variety stories, that share the same characters, and settings. Isherwood’s different stories seem to focus on a specific aspect of the Weimar culture. Weather it be the story of the narrators relationship with Sally Bowles, or in a later section when his vacation is concentrated on a very harmful relationship between two people living in his house.… Read the rest here

Gender Roles in Goodbye to BerlinThere

In Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, the characters reflect the gender roles of Nazi Germany by exemplifying the ideal male and female roles in German society. To start, Sally is allowed to focus on meeting a man as her “full-time job” while Chris is expected to go out and work, secure sustainable employment and at some point marry one of these women like Sally. These young adults, while having fun amongst themselves, are expected to form the relationships that will allow the state to succeed by the couples producing offspring.… Read the rest here

Women in Nazi Germany

In The Berlin Stories, Christopher Isherwood tells the story of Sally Bowles, a beautiful young woman who aspired to become an actress. Isherwood’s relationship with Bowles was first and foremost paternal, though near the end of the story his feelings for her grow stronger. Despite his romantic feelings for her, it is clear from the start that she is concerned with finding a man who will be able to support her lavish lifestyle.  Based on Isherwood’s descriptions of women in “Sally Bowles,” the majority of them are considered to be dependent, immature and incapable of making their own decisions. … Read the rest here

Norris and the Role of Luxury in Communism

When readers are first introduced to the character of Arthur Norris, he is offered a cigarette by William Bradshaw, a luxury reserved more or less “for the common folk”. As we see his character develop, the amount of wealth he flaunts becomes greater and greater, bragging about having a bedroom in Paris that he customized himself and worth a small fortune. Later he goes on to show this wealth with the amount of servants and the quality of decoration his house has to Bradshaw, which in turn helps characterize him for the reader.… Read the rest here

Mr. Norris and Communism

Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories consists of two novellas set in Berlin right before and during the rise of the Nazi party in the 1930s, the first of which is The Last of Mr. Norris.  This stories chronicles the friendship between William Bradshaw and Arthur Norris.  Mr. Norris proves to be a mysterious and interesting character, as he is a communist during a time which it is dangerous to be so in Germany.

While Norris holds onto his communist beliefs despite the political dangers they cause him, there are some aspects of his personality that do not completely fit with the communist ideology. … Read the rest here

The Nowaks and the Jews

The Jews living in Berlin were some of the most assimilated Jews in all of Europe. Why, then, did the Nazis not face more resistance when they began to ship Jews off to concentration camps? The Jews were clearly different from other Berliners, but how were they viewed before the Nazis came into power? Did other German dislike the Jews and want them to be taken away?

In his short story, “The Nowaks”, Christopher Isherwood captures a few different German views toward Jews.… Read the rest here

The Berlin Stories: Mr. Norris Changes Trains

The Berlin Stories by Christoper Isherwood are two stories set in Berlin in the 1930s. The first story, entitled Mr. Norris Changes Trains, is based on the relationship between William Bradshaw, the protagonist, and Arthur Norris, the mysterious stranger he meets on the train. The story follows their relationship and the gradual development of Norris’ character. Norris is soon revealed to be a communist and ex-convict. His past and his present tend to create financial and political troubles for Norris, especially in the changing climate of the newly Nazi state of Germany.… Read the rest here