Hannah’s Life Panel by Panel

The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth by Ken Krimstein

Hannah Arendt was a philosopher and political theorist who coined the term totalitarianism. Her works have been hugely influential. And we finally get to hear her story in this graphic novel biography.

I liked the section about her early life and the aspirations to learn all that she could.

“It takes a lot of hard work, more than anyone ever, I’m quite sure, to get smart. Stuff most normal people ‘get’ in like five minutes, takes me five hours.”

As a teacher, this page really spoke to me. People learn at different speeds. And it truly takes effort to learn new things.

I plan to share the above with my class soon. The book, however, has a lot of mature content that would not be suitable for younger readers. Strangely enough, I found this is the children’s section of my local library.

Men and women are so unique and unpredictable that “the meaning of their actions isn’t even comprehensible to the person doing the acting.”

That quote says a lot about how we interpret other people’s actions and what we think their motives are.

I like how it continues with the Isak Dinesen’s idea of story.

“Everything is about stories . . . because storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it!”

Walter Benjamin, in the form of a stain on the ceiling, talks to Hannah in this brilliant passage.

“Since when do things have to make sense to be true?”

I enjoyed this graphic novel biography of a woman I really hadn’t heard of before. I might have to seek out some of her writing now. I won’t give away any more of the story, suffice it to say one of the escapes is from Nazi Germany. I’m glad she got out okay and that she was able to have such a unique and authoritative voice.

My List of 2020 Reads – my annual reading b(log) that will be updated with each new title I read this year.