It was said by an anonymous author, that war changes the inherently good and unique spirit of the human race into the brute savages that they once had been. In The True Story of Hansel and Gretel characters have never known freedom from this war torn Europe. Bloodshed and violence are all that these characters have lived with and therefore we see no other traits other than those that are a direct result of these unfortunate and gruesome circumstances. Throughout this book, the actions of Major Frankel, although looked upon as always evil, give the reader a sense that before these atrocities were committed he had an inherently good heart.
The character of Major Frankel offers a unique paradox not seen in any of the other characters within this book. This scarred and battle torn man from the front lines of Russia knows how he is expected to act, but through his actions we see that there is an internal conflict that he experiences. He must live up to the Aryan philosophy, but I think that in his heart, he is a good, just man. The scars of war, both physical and emotional, have changed this once presumably kind- hearted man and I think that by helping these poor, defenseless people against the steel hand of the Oberfuhrer he finds solace and redemption for all of the evil things he has done throughout his lifetime.
Hansel and Gretel first meet the major on their trip to the village for their ration cards. Major Frankel "was wearing a tunic cinched tight with a leather belt, and the tunic wasn't very clean. He had mud on his boots like everyone in the village, and only his shoulder patches told his rank" (Murphy 66). Gretel noticed that he had a "patch that partly covered a scar of shiny red skin, " and that his other eye "was blue, bright blue, and damp with moisture" (66). The major's face was full of scars from his days on the Russian front. He was not like the Oberfuhrer, who had only received his "medals for physical fitness," Major Frankel had been at the front lines to witness all of the atrocities of war (78). The reason why he was in this "dung heap of a village [. . .]was [because]he was a cripple. Hideous looking with that scarred face. And sweating like a pig of course" (78). It is obvious that the major does not like the Oberfuhrer. The Oberfuhrer had never fought in real combat and was given his duties because of "how handsome he was" (79). Because of this, the Major took the mentality that it was he and this village against the Oberfuhrer.
Why would a German solider give a poor polish child candy? This would seam odd to me, but the major gives Hansel and Gretel, at separate times, peppermint candy. Gretel, because of her understanding of German, spoke with the Major and he took a liking to her. She "reminded him of his sister at the same age when swam secretly. The same skin. The same hair" (197). The Major told Gretel to close here eyes and open her mouth. Being trained to fear everything German,...