What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33

In the reading for class What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933 by Joseph Roth a key part of the chapters read that caught my attention was the bus theory. Roth discusses “the trouble and irritation in daily public life” and that is is in fact the fault of the public and more specifically the postwar generation (Roth, 101). With this, he compares it to a bus full of aggravated passengers. He describes the lead up to a possible fight due to a woman wearing a hat and, oh my, if a man is with her it makes it even worse (Roth, 102). After this Roth states, “If everyone causes their own individual catastrophes, how can there fail to be more general catastrophes?” and after he claims that all those people on the bus make up a community; however, they only see each other as enemies (Roth, 102). In regards to this section, I ask the question, why is it that the people can’t see past their individual problems and at the problem at large in the community? How can the people on the “bus” come together instead of rage at each other? Or is it impossible due to the political, social or cultural atmosphere?

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