Life in the Details: The Clown

A look at Heinrich Boll’s The Clown. An analysis of the themes of the novel with focus on the theme of life.

The author analyzes Boll’s depiction of relationships, both familial and religious as contributors to the management of one’s life.
Several of the motifs that preoccupy Heinrich Boll’s earlier works and, presumably, much of his emotional investment, are rekindled in The Clown, published in 1963. The nature of the family structure, Catholicism, and learning how to live in a modern post-war world are all thematically revisited, but in less abstract and more definitive terms than previously. Familial relationships and religious relationships are both important aspects of the novel, but it is the way in which these contribute, or fail to contribute, to one central human task that is preeminent – – the task of learning how to function in life.