Final Exam; Part I

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In the year 1690, my family and I packed our belongings and headed to Leipzig to settle within the city and operate my father’s “Metzgerei”. While there, I would frequently visit the city’s university and socialize with the students in the courtyards. Through these visits to the university, I became one of the only butcher’s apprentices with an infatuation of the arts. One day, I arrived to meet with my friends when they told me they had just received a copy of Daniel Caspar von Lohenstein’s new 3000 page novel “Arminius”. We gathered in a circle under a tree and would take turns reading chapters from book until we finished it in one afternoon.

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Eighty-four years later, I somehow became a grandchild of mine (and also became a vampire that never grew old) while still living in Leipzig and owning the family Metzgerei. One evening, I decided to see a play at the local theater. The theater company was performing Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz’s new play “Der Hofmeister”. Lenz had filled the play with writing styles from different genres and blended them altogether to form a long, but entertaining experience. I thought the play was good entertainment, but nothing that could reach “classic” status. After the play, I loitered on the walkway in front of the theater in hopes to meet some of the actors when Jakob Lenz happened to exit the doors accompanied by his good friend Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I talked to the two of them for a while, complimenting Lenz’s play while Goethe kept trying to insert references to his works into the conversation. Finally, I asked if he had been working on anything new and he quickly replied that he had finished composing a poem that very morning and was eager to have someone hear. He then proceeded to recite “Ganymed”. I told him I thought he was on a good start with the poem, however it need a slight improvement.

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Roughly forty years later in 1811, my family and I came to the conclusion that Leipzig was too lively a town and decided to pack up and move to Göttingen to establish another Metzgerei. While here, we recieved a visit to our house from Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm. They explained to us that they were traveling the country talking to its citizens and collecting and recording local oral tales and legends in order to compile a collection of the Germans’ unique stories. Unfortunately my family did not know any knew story that the Grimm brothers had not already heard, so they left my house and headed on their way. In 1827, I learned that Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff was going to be reciting poems at a lecture hall at the Georg-August-Universität. He told us that he was not feeling too well that evening and decided he was only going to recite one poem, and of course he picked his shortest one: “Die Mondnacht”. I think he was wanting to be at home during his illness which is why he recited a poem that concludes with him flying home.

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In 1835, I decided to take a vacation to Berlin for a chance to see premiers of art or music. When I arrived, I happened to walk into the public trial of Karl Gutzkow. He was in trouble for composing his novel “Wally, die Zweiflerin” which attacked social morals of the time such as the idea of marriage. In 1865, my family decided to move the Metzgerei to Berlin after having heard the numerous stories of my visit there. My brother had informed me that he intended on staying in Göttingen because he believed his two sons would get into too much trouble in a big city like Berlin. He told me his boys have a hard time heeding rules and were always upsetting neighbors with their original antics. I informed my brother that I had come across a book by Wilhelm Busch called “Max und Moritz” that would be sure to help his children realize their mischievous faults and to help them become better behaved through threat of grinding their bones into flour.

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Now in Berlin in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Die fröhliche Wissenschaft” had just hit the streets hot off of the press and everyone was talking about it. I picked up a copy, read it and reconsidered my life as a Metzgerei owner and decided to leave the business and live as a nihilist above a grocer’s store owned by an Austrian. About thirty years later in 1915, I was drinking coffee at a corner café when a friend of mine sat down with me and introduced me to Franz Kafka. My friend told me that Kafka had a manuscript he was wanting friends to read and give criticism. The manuscript was titled “Die Verwandlung”. I was immediately attached to the title (seeing how I just went through a transformation of my own) and read the entire thing that night in my apartment above the grocer’s store owned by an Austrian. The book had awakened me from my nihilistic ways and forced me to realize my impractical hopes of isolating myself from the majority.

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Now, twelve years later, I move from city to city in Germany confused and torn by my feelings of inadequacy. I stumbled upon Herman Hesse’s new release “Der Steppenwolf”. After reading his story, I completely related the recent changes in my life to that of the character Harry Haller in the book, and found a way to cope with the hardships of daily life and be a normal citizen again (only without being judged by Mozart). Then, I moved back to Leipzig and opened up a new Metzgerei.

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