HI there!  Please can you give me as much information on 'Conversation with a stranger' by Erich Fried. Figures of speech, pausing, phrasing anything that is worth knowing please let me know....

HI there!  Please can you give me as much information on 'Conversation with a stranger' by Erich Fried. Figures of speech, pausing, phrasing anything that is worth knowing please let me know.  Many thanks

Asked on by stclares

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coachingcorner | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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I am familiar with the poems of Erich Fried and the poem with the closest title to the one you have suggested is 'Conversation With A Survivor' notable for its sharp critique of man's tendency to 'do nothing' or to be paralysed with fear upon the confrontation with evils such as The Holocaust. It is a very unique poem with very heavy emphasis on unadorned dialogue and hidden meanings. The poem is written like a speech, line under line - with quotation marks, like a play. The questioner does not name the interviewee or the event but the questions are very direct 'What did you do....' with seemingly deliberately vague and vacuous and ambivalent answers - almost avoidant. This in itself implies a message from the poet of criticism, of failing to act or standing by while evil was perpetrated - such as ethnic cleansing.

The only reason for inaction given by the interviewee given is that of the fear of death, although others died because of his fear of the same. Then the interviewee takes a turn at asking a question, on invitation to add to the testimony. He merely asks what the interviewer would have done. The latter says he doesnt know either and so cannot sit in judgement on him but that if we continue like this, deaths and evil will thrive in the future.

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