STRUCTURAL AND RELATIONAL NETWORKS IN GUENTER GRASS' "KATZ UND MAUS" (GERMANY)
GINSBURG, BARBARA LEPPIN
Doctor of Philosophy
The schema under which the specimen text can be apprehended relies primarily on binary units. They are either assembled onto an axis of opposition or similarity. If similarity is called for, smaller units are usually combined into larger units, or else are ordered into chains of equvalent parts. Larger units are organized into tripartite structures: the chapters form three major units (1); textual relations are represented as triangular models (2); and throughout the text, reference is made to the concept of the Trinity (3). The number three stands for completeness and the number thirteen functions similarly: there are thirteen chapters in the text. The "Wendepunkt" of the novella occurs in the middle, thus dividing the text into two equal parts which both function independently as all binary units do, but they are equivalent units in terms of structural relevance. As independent units, the first establishes the thematic material, the second completes the drama and confirms the prevailing sense of tragedy. Together they constitute the text. The basic motifs are already present in the first paragraph of Katz und Maus, and as the text continues, variation and juxtaposition work to expand on the notions the text has established in the beginning, so that the beginning already foreshadows the final event. Mahlke's body and its exceptional symmetry function as a map for textual relations. The straight line descending from his Mittelscheitel down to his Adamsapfel and further down to his genitals is the same vertical axis and center line which divides the novella in the middle of chapter seven. All other parts are fitted onto that axis and revolve around it as story, plot and characters are added into the thematic fabric of Katz und Maus. As a result the body's volume and density are increased while the skeleton's major axis starts to turn at regular intervals. As the axis continues to rotate, different parts come into view and are displayed as the elements that form an organic whole. At the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines of that cross lies the source of all good and evil: Mahlke's Adamsapfel. Big, round and energetic, it feeds all other parts and dominates the entire structure. The Adam's apple is Mahlke's motor and the motor of all textual activity. It is procreator of the text and generator of the inherent major conflict which exists between Katz and Maus.