Time and place matter in this work because the author uses time and place to show how life continues and things have changed; yet, the impact of the night of the assault continues to haunt Anton. I believe that there are three key points that support my position. These points are; how Anton matured over time, how his surrounding places changed after the war, and how Anton held onto the events that took place in Haarlem, even though he as well as the places around him changed.
Over the course of the book, Anton showed a significant amount of growth, from his childhood in Haarlem, all the way until he had reached an age that surpassed his own father in years. Anton was married at twice. His first wife was Saskia De Graaff (pg 100), and his second wife was Liesbeth (pg 152). This shows how he matured and grew from a traumatized boy in Haarlem, to a man with two families in Amsterdam. The author also showed that he had matured by describing his physical characteristics. “Time passed.
His Hair turned gray prematurely, but he did not grow bald like his father. ” This shows that time moved on after the events the night of the assault. The author also showed how places in Anton’s life had changed since that night. The author described how Haarlem was before the war and how it had changed after the war. The city was completely different. In the Haarlemmer Hout, the former site of the Ortskommandantur garage; became a restaurant. This shows the difference between war times and peaceful times.
Also, a bank had replaced the actual Ortskommandantur (headquarters) (pg 160). Anton also noticed that there were different kinds of people in Amsterdam. “He saw a group of warrior types wearing turbans, wide pants, and sword belts, with only the pistols and scimitars missing; displaced Kurds, perhaps…” (pg 165). Kurds are Iranic people from West Asia who have been displaced from their home land. Anton had not realized, until then, how much everything had changed and how there are different kinds of people living in Amsterdam.
There were different wars that took place throughout Anton’s life. When he was a child, he was engulfed in World War II. As he grows older, the author mentions the Korean War. “…volunteer to fight in Korea…the battle of occidental (western) Christianity, against the communist barbarians” (pg 167). At the end of the book, the Cold War was taking place. Although time and places had changed, Anton was still trapped by the events of that night. When Anton met Takes for the first time, he was forced to recall the events that happened on that eventful day in Haarlem.
Takes was the man who shot and killed Fake Ploeg. Even though Anton was much older, he was taken back to the night of the assault. When he went back to Haarlem, he saw his neighbors who had witnessed the burning of Anton’s house down. Both of these events contributed to Anton divorcing his first wife, Saskia and having panic attacks. Although they remained closed friends, it is believed that they divorced because of his inability to let go of the past. At the end of the book; however, Anton finally let go. He has lived through the War, as they say, one of the last perhaps, to remember He has joined it against his will, this demonstration, and there’s an ironical look in his eye, as if he found the situation amusing. ” (pg 185) In conclusion, Time and place matter in this work because the author uses time and place to show how places have changed and how Anton has aged, yet the impact of the night of the assault continues to remain with him throughout his adult life.
I believe that the three main points that support my view are; how Anton matured over time, how his surrounding places changed after the war, and how Anton held onto the events that took place in Haarlem, even though time and the places around him changed. “But what does it matter? Everything is forgotten in the end. The shouting dies down, the waves subside, the streets empty, and all is silent once more. ”