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Abstract

When Christa Wolf's first novel Der geteilte Himmel was published in 1963, it precipitated within the GDR a flurry of varied and differing critical comment quite unusual for that country. The main controversy centered on the ideological message of the work which, according to some, was too vague and did not sufficiently extol the advantages of socialism in the GDR nor properly emphasize the leadership role of the Communist Party. Others retorted that it was just this subjective lyrical quality which distinguished the book from the uninspired Aufbauliteratur of the ’50s in which there had been a plethora of socialist heroes only too willing to recite Marxist-Leninist slogans. Critics in the West have concurred that the novel's concept of socialism is indeed a bit vague, while some, especially Western Marxists, have tried to save the work by emphasizing the role played by the world of labor in the socialist education of the heroine Rita Seidel. This paper attempts to give at least a partial answer to the question of the novel's ideology by concentrating on this socialist education, specifically on the educators or mentors who are responsible for it.

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