How can I identify the historification in The Caucasian Chalk Circle?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Historification is one of Brecht's most commonly used effects in his plays which serves to highlight and underline the alienation that he works so hard to achieve. Historification can be defined as setting a play in the historic past so as to invite parallels to be drawn with contemporary events. This is achieved in this play through what can be described as the framing story, which is the dispute in Georgia between two farming collectives, both of whom want some land to use for their own purposes. The story is broken by the account of Grusha and Azdak, and their story of flight and trying to achieve justice in an unjust world. The play's story highlights the way in which true justice is very difficult to achieve, and how sometimes justice and the law battle for supremacy. Historification is therefore achieved in this play through the paralelling of Grusha's struggle to gain parenthood of the child that isn't hers even though the law does not support her with the cause of the fruit farmers who eventually gain the land because they will be able to use it more effectively. Note how these themes are summed up in the following song:

What there is shall belong to those who are good for it, thus

The children to the maternal, that they thrive;

The carriages to the good drivers, that they are driven well;

And the valley to the waterers, that it shall bear fruit.

Two different stories set in very different times have almost identical messages, allowing parallels to be drawn between the two and the reinforcement of the key themes and principles of this play. 

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