Analysis Of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain

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Would you feel naked if you saw an x-ray of yourself? What we might not see as sexual in current times could be interpreted differently and perhaps even as pornographic not so long ago. An important development in the visualisation of the human anatomy caused an interesting reaction. In the book The Magic Mountain (1924) by Thomas Mann, his main character Hans Castorp goes to visit his cousin in a sanatorium in Switzerland, because his cousin suffers from tuberculosis. During this time taking x-ray photos became part of regular treatment, yet many had not seen such pictures. The x-rays gained a special status in the story; they became intimate portraits and were carried around in pockets. They were also used as a sort of membership card. The…show more content…
In a humorous and satirical short story called The Nose published in 1836 in Russia, Gogol writes about a man who has a runny nose, meant in the literal sense. His main character a collegiate assessor named Kovaliov, wakes up and realizes that his nose is no longer on his face. It disappeared in the night and decided to become the nose of a man with much higher civil service rank. Kovaliov desperately tries to get his nose back, but fails and in the meantime he tries to find someone to blame. Before this all happened he was flirting with a girl he did not intent to marry, and therefore he thinks that her mother, who was not pleased with his flirting, was the cause of the loss of his nose. While Kovaliov was occupied with confronting the mother to blame her, his nose was enjoying his new more privileged life. After two weeks, the nose surprisingly comes back to Kovaliov. After the reunion with his nose, he goes around town and feels smug about the size of his nose compared to others . The story seems nonsense and it is meant to be seen in a symbolic fashion. When you read it, you might expect that the nose stands for another body part. The Russian word for nose can be interpreted as another word; khui, a Russian taboo word for penis

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