Unit 3 Prompt 1
Due Monday Oct 15 at 5pm
Drawing from the readings, describe what Arendt means by “banality of evil” and explain how it was received as controversial.
To do this, respond to two things below.
Pick one paragraph, scene, section, page, or narrative from our reading, Eichmann in Jerusalem (not the other two articles). Conduct a close reading on how Arendt carries out her report to culminate in her point about “the banality of evil,” which is the very last phrase of the reading (on page 252). Pay attention to her tone, mood, inclusion and omission of facts, analysis, diction, style, development, imagined audience, etc. What do these choices do? How do they contribute to her text, argument, or greater discourse? Use all the close reading skills you have gained in the previous units. You are welcome to conduct outside research (always cite) to find out more about Arendt, The New Yorker, or the process of Eichmann’s arrest, but make sure your argument is supported primarily by evidence drawn directly from this text.
Reflect upon how some people interpreted “the banality of evil” as an offensive phrase. Explain how they interpreted this phrase, and why it was transmitted as offensive (to whom and in what way?). Conclude with your short analysis on this debate: how might this reading be a reasonable interpretation or misreading of Arendt’s intentions. The interview with Young-Bruehl and Hartouni’s text are informative. While you can use information from the two texts, your response should first and foremost closely read “Eichmann” (and cite from it) in order for you to build your own argument.
Aim for around 300 words. Remember to tag your new section teacher.