The ending of "Stones from the River" confused me. Did she see Georg die or anticipate his death?

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rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Georg does not die at the end of the book. Instead, he appears to Trudi in a dream and asks what will become of him. That can be understood in several ways. Perhaps Trudi is anticipating his death; perhaps the question is meant to be understood in a larger sense, as in, what will become of Germany, after the defeat of Hitler. In Trudi's dream, Georg is appealing to Trudi in her role as storyteller or author. As storyteller, of course Trudi is responsible for what happens to her characters, so in that way Georg's question makes sense. I like to think of dream-Georg as a representation of Trudi herself—in this case, Georg's question really becomes about Trudi, and what will happen to her. The answer the book gives—that her story making will continue—suggests that humanity, and in particular the differences that make us human, will endure despite the physical and psychological destruction caused by the war.

sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Trudi is anticipating his death in the sense that she is meeting him in a dream and being asked "what will become of me"?  In this dream, she has the answer to that.  Trudi understands that just because the war is over, the violence is not.  More war can come, just as sure as prejudice still continues and humans still thrive off demonstrately physical power over others.  Georg is a symbol of that, of being lost to the violence.  His question "what will become of me?" is symbolic of that larger social question - what will become of us all if we allow violence and prejudice to continue?

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Stones from the River

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