East European Studies

Paper , Order, or Assignment Requirements

Final Exam Part B:

The due date to turn in this assignment is the very last day of the semester.

Literature Review:

Slavenka Drakulic

  1. A novel about the Balkans

About the book:

Set in 1992, during the height of the Bosnian war, S. reveals one of the most horrifying aspects of any war: the rape and torture of civilian women by occupying forces. S. is the story of a Bosnian woman in exile who has just given birth to an unwanted child, one without a country, a name, a father or a language. The birth of this child reminds her of an even more grueling experience – being repeatedly raped by Serbian soldiers in the women s room of a prison camp. Through a series of flashbacks, S. relives the unspeakable crimes she has endured, and in telling her story-timely, strangely compelling and ultimately about survival- depicts the darkest side of human nature during wartime.

Literature Review Guidelines:

This final assignment is a book report and commentaries about specific provided topics in relations with the content of the book. It is designed to focus on the objectives of our course, by using Slavenka Drakulic s book S. A novel about the Balkans . In addition, students should use the course material and/or other internet sources in order to provide the necessary information for the introduction and historical background section of this book report.

Please follow this guideline while writing your book report:

The finished paper should be NOT SHORTER THAN 12 PAGES , including a cover page and your reference page; the finished paper must be double spaced, 12 point font, black ink, 1 margins; use a scientific style of writing, in-text citation and be as clear, concise and to the point as possible.

Structure of the Literature Review:

Cover Page (1 page only):

Abstract (200-250 words on a separate page): Describe the major objectives of your paper, the procedures to be followed in completing your work, and a brief summary of your results and conclusions.

Introduction (1-2 pages): it should begin with a bold statement in order to draw the reader into your paper; follow with an introduction to the research problem(s) or expository issue(s) with an explanation of your hypothesis/thesis statement; also here it can be included an introductory of the book and the author.

Background (1-2 pages): in this section provide the historical background of the region; explain the political conflict, political forces and the reasons which brought this conflict. Here you may use our course material and other materials from internet sources, which should be provided as a link under the section References. If students want to produce any data analysis, any tables, or case studies, should be included here.

Presentation (6 pages or more): in this section students should analyze/comment the 10 Questions for Discussion provided below. Use them as a separate title (in bold) and provide your analyses supported with evidences from the book.

Questions for discussion


1.1 1.The title of S. outside of the U.S. is As If I Am Not There. What happens to S. and the other prisoners as the past becomes more distant and the present more surreal?


  1. 2. The women do strange things to survive. One of the most startling is that S. finds a cosmetic bag and insists on applying full makeup before her forced rendezvous with the Captain. What is her rational for doing this? How does it help her to survive and define who she s become?


  1. 3. S. must be on her guard with the Captain so as not to upset or anger him in any way. Yet, although she is trapped as his mistress, she says she does not hate him. Why?


  1. 4. Varlam Shalamov, himself a concentration camp survivor, is quoted on the opening page of S. as saying. A human being survives by his ability to forget . Yet S. comes out of the camp plagued by something that will keep her from forgetting – s he is pregnant. How does this increase S. s isolation?


  1. 5. Drakulic explores the conflict between fear and morality for both the inmates and the soldiers. Do the inmates have a responsibility towards each other? Are they able to protect each other?


  1. 6. Drakulic writes that S. s entire past has spilled out of her body with this child. Is forgiveness or redemption possible through the birth of this innocent child who was created out of hate?


  1. 7. Elie Wiesel describes in his memoirs of the Holocaust the typical unwillingness of prisoners to confront reality. No one questions what is happening. How does Drakulic bring this same sense of passivity to the characters in S.? Even after the villagers hear gunshots, why don t they believe that evil awaits them?


  1. 8. “But the soldiers are no longer people either, except they are less aware of it. Can one pity or begin to understand the actions of the civilians who became the soldiers in this war – the killers, murderers, and rapists?


  1. 9. How will S. cope with reality outside of the camps, a world with its regularly flying planes and smiling flight attendants, a world that also produced the women s room?


  1. Drakulic supplies virtually no personal history about S. or information about the politics of the war, focusing solely on the experiences of S. s prison life. Does this affect our ability to relate to S. s surreal journey from citizen to rape victim to refugee?