Michael Berg in The Reader
The introduction of the main character, Michael Berg, takes place right in the first chapter of the book, The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink. It begins with describing Michael in his life as a teenager, who is suffering from jaundice. Already on the first page of the book, you can learn how much Michael suffers at this time under his sickness. “That’s where I’d thrown up on the way home from school one day the previous October. […] Every step was an effort.”
The fact that he vomits in public shows that he suffers from his illness and he also feels embarrassed.
In addition to his illness, Michael is also described in his post-pubertal stage of life. His feelings for Hanna and his reactions to her behavior are in accordance with the age and the stage of puberty. For example, he is not able to stand the view of Hanna tightening her stockings. He feels so attracted to her that he runs away to escape the situation. In summary, one can say that Michael Berg is presented as an adolescent, but also as a sick teenager who is in the middle of his youthful, self-discovery phase.
In addition, we characterized Michael in regards to several situations and chronological events of The Reader on the following points:
- Family Relationship
- Dependence of Hanna
- The Reader
- Uncertainty in Thinking and Feeling
- Change in the Courtroom
- Feelings of Guilt