Corpus Delicti (July Zeh): Summary

Imagine that chocolate is banned and the state decides who you have to marry. You also have a mandatory exercise program that must be completed on time or you are breaking the law. You are not allowed to go for a walk in the forest, because the risk of infection is far too high there. That sounds pretty absurd, doesn’t it? In the book corpus delicti is about Mia Holl, who in just such a health oriented world lives.

Corpus Delicti Summary

Corpus Delicti is one of July toe written science fictionwhich was released in February 2009 and is based on a play.

Under a In literary studies, a science fiction novel is a novel that takes place in an imagined future. Sometimes such works are also referred to as science fiction novel.

In addition, Juli Zeh’s work is a dystopiasince «The Method» citizens’ freedom strong restricts and you controlled. Anyone who opposes the system will be punished.

It’s a dystopia opposite from a utopia. In a dystopia, one becomes bad, pessimistic future described. The utopia, on the other hand, shows one good and peaceful vision of the future.

Depending on the edition, the fateful life of the protagonist is told on around 272 pages Mia Holl addressed the conflict with the health dictatorship called «Dhe method» device. In her novel, Zeh criticizes above all that the compulsion to want to control everything civil liberty could restrict.

The following terms are helpful for understanding the work:

corpus delicti

Corpus Delicti is the title of Juli Zeh’s novel. However, «corpus delicti» also means an object in court with which a criminal offense was committed and which is piece of evidence serves. So the title alone suggests that the novel deals with a legal topic.

«The Method» in Corpus Delicti

The term «method» describes a planned procedure to achieve a specific goal.

«The method» in Corpus Delicti denotes the one prevailing in the novel form of government. This existed center of the 21st century and is one health dictatorship in the Germany of the future. The aim of the state is to ensure the health and hygiene of individual citizens. It achieves this through a rigorous and systematic process.

For example, to achieve absolute health, one must Sleep and Nutrition Reports submit, as well Urine tests, blood tests, and body scans allow and a fixed sports workload fulfill. In addition, each person is through one Chip monitored in the arm. Everything that endangers health is forbidden, so Cigarettes, coffee, sweets, alcohol and drugs.

Health is considered by «The Method». Harmony between soul and body Are defined. Those who are healthy can do the most performance and power provide, from which the state benefits in two ways: On the one hand, a high-performing people strengthen the economy and thus the Profit. On the other hand, healthy residents provide for many as well healthy offspring.

Ensuring the healthy offspring is very important for «The Method». For example, people whose immune systems are incompatible are forbidden from having children together. Whether two people are genetically compatible or not is determined by prescribed rules immune analyses Celebration.

It is also forbidden to go for a walk in the forest. Everything becomes within a city regularly disinfected and cleaned. The forest does not meet these strict hygiene regulations, which is why it is source of infection is seen.

All statements that are to be understood against «The Method» are punished. «The method protection«, a government organization controlled the citizens down to the smallest detail. «The method» is one totalitarian form of government, which severely restricts the freedom of the individual. In this context one can also transparent people speak, who has no right to secrets and privacy because he is completely transparent to the state.

Synopsis of Corpus Delicti

Life is an offer that you can also refuse.

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations are from Juli Zeh’s «Corpus Delicti. Ein Prozess.» (2009, Frankfurt am Main, Schöffling).

The science fiction corpus delicti is set in the mid-21st century. A health dictatorship called «The Method» dominates people’s everyday lives and is intended to enable everyone to lead a healthy life. Before the actual story begins, the reader learns that the Main character Mia Holl in court as terrorist sentenced to freezing.

Mia mourns Moritz

The action begins when Mia is in complete grief for her deceased brother Moritz Holl located. This was in a murder case for guilty declared and eventually killed himself in prison. Mia does not exercise or submit nutrition and sleep reports out of grief over her loss. This one health certificates However, they are compulsory dish loadedn.

Heinrich Kramer, a star journalist and strong supporter of the method, followed Mia’s brother’s trial closely at the time. One of Moritz’ lady acquaintances was found dead been. Because of a DNA match Mia’s brother was found guilty of this crime. Kramer approaches Mia out of curiosity.

Mia feels it inner conflict between her certaintythat Moritz innocent was and «The method«who they are for infallible holds. Her desperation causes her to disobey the health rules imposed and by the court for the time being warned becomes. But when she remembered Moritz a Cigarette smokes in the living room, becomes a criminal trial instituted against them.

Mia’s conflict with «The Method»

Public Defender Rosentreter gets Mia to contest the fine imposed on her. Finding her way back to everyday life is becoming increasingly difficult for Mia. Meanwhile, Kramer publicly countered system critic and also refers to Mia. Rosentreter’s strategy sfails and Mia is sentenced to two years probation.

Mia rightly suspects one in Rosentreter system opponent, since this one from «The Method» forbidden love affair leads. He also wants Moritz innocence prove. Mia mentions one to Rosentreter cured cancer her brother. In the meantime, the star journalist Kramer has directly linked Moritz’s suicide to an alleged one in a newspaper called «Der Common Sense». terrorist attack threat.

Protagonist Mia questions her past system fidelity. A flashback shows Moritz’s arrest in her presence. Mia is also eventually called enemy of method arrested. Rosentreter succeeds in proving Moritz’s innocence in court. Because since the bone marrow donation, which Moritz received as a result of his cancer, he shared the same DNA with his dispenser. So the killer wasn’t Moritz, it was his spinal cord donor.

Doubts about the method and rebellion

Released as part of the ongoing trial, Mia publicly questions The Method. Rosentreter doesn’t succeed in stopping them. she demands self-determination and individuality. Then Mia vom method protection arrested.

Kramer publicly claims that Mia, as the leader of a terrorist group, wants to attack «The Method». He tries to get Mia to sign a fake confession. He goes even further and spreads rumors that Mia’s group planned a poison gas attack. With manipulated evidence and witnesses, he puts them under pressure.

Mia’s public support dwindles. Despite torture, she refused to sign. She rips the surveillance chip from her arm and declares herself free. Because «anti-method activities” she stands before the court again, this time without Rosentreter’s active support.

Several spectators protest and shout: «Free Mia Holl!». Mia then demands from those present, either to overthrow the system or to remain silent. For a series of made-up crimes, Mia is sent to the Freeze to be judged. But at the last second she will pardoned, for fear of one rebellion of the people and around out of her none martyr close. A rehabilitation program is being prepared for Mia, which is supposed to «tame» her again.

Figure constellation in Corpus Delicti

In addition to the main characters, there are other characters that are important in their effect on Mia. Figure 1 shows how the individual people interact and who supports or rejects the method:

Figure 1: Figure constellation Corpus Delicti

Structure, language and narrative behavior in corpus delicti

The novel owns 50 chapters, each of which begins with a short heading. These headings give the reader a little foreshadowing of the content of the chapters. If you compare the structure of the novel with the typical structure of a drama, you might notice a similarity on: There is one exposition, rising plot, a climax, as well as falling plot and finally the catastrophe. This similarity is due to the fact that Juli Zeh only wrote «Corpus Delicti» as dramatic play had written. In the following table you can see the content in comparison to the drama structure:

Classic Dramatic StructureCorpus Delicti ContentExposureIntroducing Method and Main CharactersRising StorylineMia neglects her duties and gets arrestedClimaxRosentreter proves Moritz’s innocence and Mia loses her faith in the methodFalling StorylineKramer tries to portray Mia as a terroristCatastrophe Mia is sentenced to freezing but then pardoned

If you would like to learn more about the classic drama structure, please read our article «Drama».

Language and Narrative Behavior in «Corpus Delicti»

The author is Juli Zeh lawyerwhich occurs throughout the novel through that legal language material will be shown. The title «corpus delicti» in the legal sense denotes a piece of evidence with which a crime has been committed. The subtitle «A Trial» indicates on the one hand that Mia’s opinion on the method changes, but also on the court hearings in the book. That’s why you can also use corpus delicti legal literature assign, much of the action also takes place in the courtroom.

Speech in «Corpus Delicti»

Juli Zeh’s speaking style is sober and not judgmental. By using many different foreign wordsincluding Latin expressions, the novel is very demanding for the readership.

(Mia on the composition of tears)

In addition, the book is through a figurative language shaped. The use of Compare and metaphors stimulates the imagination of the readership and enables a better understanding of the content.

«excited string concert»

(as metaphor for public opinion)

narrative behavior

Of the omniscient authorial narrators rarely intervenes in the plot with information or explanations. In addition, the novel by dialogues shaped, making the story come alive and close.

It is based on a narrative two time levels:

  • The trial of Mia…