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. This population growth is encouraged by parents supporting their children through the use of monthly stipends; the children however use this money not for its intended purpose but rather for meeting friends and having a good time.

There is a noticeable lack of older males in the text. A lot of the Fraus are single and working to take care of these groups of young adults. They act as a level between the state and the young adults, guiding their development with much more freedom than home life all while providing a motherly environment. They cook, clean and run daily house life for these single men and women, allowing them the ability to go out and search for a spouse, or in Sally’s case a “rich old man, where she won’t have to worry”.

2 thoughts on “Gender Roles in Goodbye to BerlinThere

  1. I think Sally’s search for a man has less to do with becoming the ideal housewife than with maintaining her marginal, bohemian lifestyle. Her attempts to find this “rich old man” seem ironic at best, and if she ever did find such a person, you could expect her to leave him at the first sign of trouble.

  2. I think the focus on young adults in the text reflects the focus that younger adults are the future. Like the films we viewed in class as well as “Triumph of the Will” we saw how the younger generations in Germany were regarded. The older generations are irrelevant, as they are worn down and no longer of use to the country.

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