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The book is largely metaphorical and deals with the brutality of human nature and how the horrors we perpetrate on each other become part of us.
Thematically, the novel deals with the conflation of human and animal, and the interplay of violence and control. The Painted Bird is told in the first-person from the point of view of an unnamed boy of unknown ethnicity.
It takes place in Eastern Europe during World War II, beginning inwhen the boy is six years old, and spanning six years. They arrange for their son to travel from their city to a village far away, in the countryside.
The peasants there are isolated, poor, and superstitious, and without modern conveniences. Marta passes away, and the boy accidentally burns down her hut. He escapes the fire and makes his way to another village, where he is beaten by the peasants.
He is saved by Olga the Wise, the village healer, who teaches the boy how to mix ingredients and gives him elixirs to restrain the evil powers inside him. Though Olga is kind to him, the peasants fear him. They eventually throw him in the river, and he floats away.
From this point on, the boy wanders the countryside, finding shelter in villages when he can. At his next stop, the boy lives with a blacksmith, who is eventually murdered by Polish partisans.
The boy is then sent to a German outpost, where his life is spared by a German soldier who pretends to execute him and then sets him free. He stays in a village by the railroad tracks, where the peasants watch as trains full of Jewish prisoners head to concentration camps. A Jewish girl is found along the tracks and is taken to the house of a peasant named Rainbow.
She is raped by Rainbow and then killed by the village healer. He is taken to a German SS officer whose beauty and authority fascinate and inspire envy in the boy. The boy turns to prayer, which only earns him more beatings.
When the boy is thrown by churchgoers into a manure pit, he becomes mute. He next lives with the farmer Makar and his two grown children. Ewka, the daughter, begins a sexual affair with him, and the boy leaves after discovering the family engaging in incest and bestiality. In the frozen landscape, he is beaten by village boys and saved by Labina, a widow who entertains men each night as the boy listens on in disgust.
|Short Book Summaries||Major themes[ edit ] The book describes the wandering boy's encounters with peasants engaged in all forms of sexual and social deviance such as incestbestiality and rapeand in other forms of extreme violence exciting lust.|
|The Painted Bird Chapter Summaries (Sponsored)||A Blacksmith The boy lives with a well-respected blacksmith and his family, who treat him relatively well. The boy admits, "the blacksmith liked to slap my face when he was tipsy and I got in his way, but there were no other consequences.|
|Navigate Guide||Considered to be either a Jew or a Roma Gypsy because of his dark hair and olive skin, the boy is treated horribly by the brutal and ignorant peasants he meets in his travels. The young boy first lives in the hut of Marta, a disabled and superstitious old woman.|
|Top 7 Quotes from The Painted Bird | Free Book Notes||Much of the horror encountered by the Jewish boy takes place in remote and underdeveloped Eastern European villages.|
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Labina dies, and the boy flees to a new village. The village is attacked by Kalmuks, who are then killed by Soviet soldiers. The soldiers set up camp in the field, and the boy, still mute, befriends them.
He is cared for by Gavrila, an ardent member of the Communist Party, and Mitka, a sniper whose accomplishments are legendary. He respects both men and takes a keen interest in the Red Army.
When the German occupation is over, the boy reluctantly goes to an orphanage, where he fends off attacks by other orphans.
He befriends an orphan called the Silent One, and the two sneak away to cause mischief in the city. He sneaks out at night, spending his time with criminals and underground political dissenters; he breaks the arm of the four-year-old boy his parents have adopted, and he takes violent revenge on a cinema attendant who offends him.
His parents then send him to the mountains to live with a ski instructor. The boy is injured skiing and receives a phone call in the hospital.In The Painted Bird, Jerzy Kosinski’s hero, a Jewish orphan during WWII, pays witness to atrocities seen while roaming through rural, backwards towns in Nazi occupied Poland, which happen to be populated by antiquated, superstitious pagan-like townspeople.
In the Afterward of the second edition of The Painted Bird, Kosinski notes the impetus for the novel and for much of his writing: when his parents described their experiences during the war and their witnessing of "young children being herded into the trains," he writes.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This page guide for “The Painted Bird” by Jerzy Kosiński includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 20 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis.
The Painted Bird has 17, ratings and 1, reviews. Paul said: Reading this one is like opening an oven door and the WHITE HOT BLAST OF HATRED from ev /5.
Notes of the Author of The Painted Bird [Jerzy KOSINSKI] on srmvision.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Painted Bird is arguably Jerzy Kosinski’s most controversial novel because of its unrelenting bleakness. The story of a young boy, probably Jewish, who, separated from his parents during.