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The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum

            The use of language in the novel encourages the reader to respond adversely and form an attack on the horrendous journalistic practises of "the News". There are numerous instances of modality (indirect author opinion) which have the verbal function of telling the reader what the speaker's attitude is about the News whilst supposedly maintaining a "scrupulously fair" (p. 106) "testimony" in his "report" (p. 8). Boll directs the reader's response by introducing sarcastic and scathing words, such as "bias" (p. 8), when referring to the paper and suggesting "The News [which is] all lies" (p. 139) is a "rag" (p. 40), an insulting term for a newspaper, and is both full of "lying and fraudulent statements" (p.61) and composed by "murderers and character-assassins" (p. 108). The News is personified as wild, out of control, animalistic, monstrous, beastly and therefore, as the reader is positioned to see, both powerful and very dangerous. Like the flow of water so often referenced by the narrator it is uncontrolled and without check; "The News behaved somewhat oddly after the murder of two of its journalists. Wild excitement! Headlines or bank robber" (p. 13). Thus the text positions the reader to view the media unfavourably and resentfully for its sensationalism, distortion of the truth and victimisation of individuals. .
             The work offers a warning against the damage and destruction, done upon personal and individual reputation, caused by the structural violence inflicted by power blocks in society. Structural violence is not directly inflicted upon a person's body or psyche but is latently present in institutions of an unjust society and manifests itself when those in powerful positions secretively act to perpetuate social inequality and injustice and damage the well-being and reputation of individuals.

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