Society of Nightmares
So far in reading Katharine Burdekin’s Swastika Night, I am shocked by the brutality displayed in the novel. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised since the novel depicts the world if Hitler and the Nazis would have won. But it still makes you think about how terrible human beings can be to one another. The treatment of foreigners, women, and Christians is mind-boggling. There is a passage early on in the novel that talks about the class system of the various people in the world. “As a woman is above a worm, so is a man above a woman. As a woman is above a worm, so is a worm above a Christian,” (Burdekin 7). So the absolute worst thing a person could be here is a Christian woman. And rape is perfectly legal in the current society. Women are considered to be very ugly, unintelligent, and wild beasts. The ideal beauty in society is scene in boys and young men. This brings me to my next point about gray characters in the novel. The scene where Hermann happens upon the lovely young chorister boy who is attempting to rape the little Christian girl is a great example of this. “Hermann’s whole body filled with delicious thundering warming floods of rage. He loathed the boy for being even interested in girls – with his lovely face, his unmasculine immaturity – Hermann was physically jealous; he was shamed; he had not killed Alfred, but here was something at last that he could smash and tear and make bleed and utterly destroy,” (Burdekin 33). This clearly shows that Hermann wanted to beat the chorister boy for solely being interested in girls, rather than the fact that he was about to rape one. He may have inadvertently saved the girl but his intentions were only on punishing the boy and didn’t care what happened to the girl whatsoever. With occurrences like this probably happening every day, one can only imagine how terrible it would be to live in this society.
Burdekin, Katharine. Swastika Night. New York: Feminist Press, 1985. Print