Now I say that it's about family and community and about neighbors and neighboring situations. One of the things that The Last of the Just does, is it raises a question about the relationship of violence,and erotic behavior. Not neurotic, erotic behavior. And it does this in scene after scene. And one of the things that makes The Last of the Just so important is he's put his finger on how in the modern world it's not just violence that's at work. But violence has become eroticized. Violence is now, how erotic experience is expressed. That this is part of if you will, the Nazi edition. Because stories about communities, novels about families always have stories about erotic experience. There's been a little bit of a hint about some of this in the other accounts, but this tries to get at it directly. And as you read, and I'm suggesting ways to focus on things that will come up. You will find moments when for example the peasant who fought with Mordecai and Mordecai fought with him, was just a bunch of guys. But what if violence is seen, as a way of impressing your girlfriend. What if we see violence in the schoolyard as a way of bullying that also is about coming out and getting the girl. But of course you all know about situations like that. And in that way Schwartz- Bart is not only tapping into, let's call it realistic experience, and writing a realistic novel. But he's also making a claim about what violence has become in the modern world. And as I say, this is different from the other books we've read. Now we've seen an example of this Mordecai fighting back against the bully. And we go from Mordecai to Benjamin. And we're going to go to Ernie. And we see If you will the handing on of family traditions, but in this case a family's tradition of being a just man. And each time we go to a different just man we find another.. Narrowing of possibilities, and another making of the Jews more miserable, just the things Peter was talking about last time. And we also see a psychological set of questions. And these psychological set of questions are directed to the bullies and those who are being bullied. So, what happens to you when you are bullied and you cannot imagine winning out. What is the psychological thing that you do? And the psychological issues are very powerful, and Peter has been talking about them from the point of view of their perpetrators. And we'll hear more about that. And here is a novel that wants to talk about the perpetrators and their psychology and those on whom the violence is perpetrated and their psychology. So there's a chapter, you'll be coming to it called The Just Man of the Flies. Some of you have gotten that far? Yes? No? Should I do a spoiler alert? The Just Man of the Flies. The Just Man of the Flies. Is about how Ernie Levy, who's been beaten up in various ways, gets to beat up something else. But he can't beat up the Nazi kids. So he plays with flies, he captures flies, and he torments them. Surely you even know people who have done this. Right? And there's a kind of mirroring effect. So he will become the bully who tears off wings of flies and watches them afterwards. So we have the victim internalizing the habit of the victimizer. Well, this is an interesting issue because, and we know this happens, for example, with prisoners in all sorts of ways. If the person who is bullied takes on the habits of the bully that, shall I say, narrows the possibilities in the world then there are only two. You can be bullied, or you can bully those who are less so he becomes the just man of the flies. And of course that's an ironic title, and a sardonic title. And this takes us back to the question that Benjamin asked of Mr. Goldfagen, you don't believe in God? So is the only thing that's available in this world is power. And the exercise of violence. Is that what is the sense of human life, of the universe? So this is a serious moral questioning. In Dostoevsky, Jesus comes back down to life and the Grand Inquisitor says, you should leave now because you're making trouble. This is a question for the just man. Is it possible to be a just man? And by being a just man to testify that there are other moral and ethical ways of living in the world than simply saying I'm the biggest and the baddest. And you will do what I tell you. And when it's time I'll kill you. And so this is a powerful moral question raised in terms of a realistic novel that draws on historical data, historical accounts, and then also does the mythological arc? One just man after another. And I have to ask you now I'm suggesting that the plot of this novel, right? First I'm talking about ideology and imagery, the plot of this novel is going to keep asking this question about, the moral grounds of meaning in the universe. What sense does it make for the kinds of issues that [FOREIGN]. Is this all there is here? No why. Is there a moral and ethical set of choices that we can testify to. Even if we become witnesses. And here, Andre Schwarz-Bart is using a Greek word, or he's implying the presence of a Greek word that means witness. And its martyr, because the martyr testifies to other meanings. But if there is no God and all we have is power, what are the moral grounds on which you can say, there must be another way to construct the world. Remember, Primo Levi said, the Nazis were engaged in a gigantic biological and social experiment. Is this a world without any other meaning than the meaning of violence. So this is a very important book, and a very powerful one. It had a huge impact, his parents moved from Poland to France. He grew up in France, his parents got taken to Auschwitz. He rebelled and joined the resistance for a bit and various, lucky escapes. He writes this book and it becomes one of the books that raises the question about the meaning of the Holocaust twenty years later and you have to remember that right after the war, there were trials at Nuremberg and so on. But most people didn't talk about it, didn't want to talk about it. Schwarz-Bart's book makes us ask these questions in the postmodern world. So I want to talk more about it, but I want you to find the passages and I figured if I told you there were these questions about erotic experience and the ways in which we have the eroticisation of violence as one of the key moments in this elaboration of the gigantic biologic and social experiment of Nazism, and raise these questions. Then you have to read for the plot. And I have to ask you, what is the meaning of the ending? But we'll have a chance to talk about that. Next week.