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Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan and Kenan Trebinčević’s The Bosnia List

write a 4-5 page typed, double-spaced essay that addresses Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan and Kenan Trebinčević’s The Bosnia List. Both Ratner and Trebinčević are genocide survivors. Ratner was a child when she was driven from her home and lost most of her family in 1970s Cambodia. Trebinčević was only slightly older when he survived the genocide in Bosnia in the early 1990s. Each tells a harrowing story of their experiences of fear, pain, hunger, persecution, and loss.

When you write your essay, you will want to focus on the specifics of each author’s work, and compare and contrast their experiences: Why do you think Ratner chose to write her book as an autobiographical novel, whereas Trebinčević decided to write a memoir? Is it important that they were both children when the events they discuss took place? Does gender – i.e. Ratner being female, and Trebinčević male – color how they experienced genocide?

Additionally, you should write this paper with the broader themes/topics we have discussed in class in mind: On what grounds can we call the atrocities that Ratner and Trebinčević survived genocidal? What ideals/aims motivated the perpetrators? What makes the genocide addressed in each book similar to other genocides that we have discussed? In other words, do most genocides – including the ones in the books – share certain fundamental aspects? For instance, do the genocides in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia exhibit the traits outlined by Ben Kiernan in his chapter “Twentieth-Century Genocides: Underlying Themes from Armenia to East Timor”, in the book The Specter of Genocide? And by contrast, are there ways in which the genocides that Ratner and Trebinčević survived unique? Your paper should, then, be more than a summary of the two books, but an in-depth exploration on each author’s experience of genocide that links it with the broader history of genocide in the twentieth century.

In terms of the structure of your paper, you should begin with an introduction that contains a thesis – the argument you are planning to make in the paper. You should proceed to give a brief summary of each book, and then move to your analysis. The analysis should address the questions about genocide detailed above with respect to how they pertain to Ratner and Trebinčević. Finally, you should have a conclusion that sums up your initial argument and ties the entire paper together


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