Articolo
Abstract

This paper aims to investigate the significance of Heirich Böll’s satirical short story Black sheep (Die schwarzen Schafe) for both its author and the context of German Literature at the beginning of the 1950s. The short story is usually remembered only because it won the Gruppe 47 prize, awarded to Böll in 1951. A closer analysis reveals its many interesting aspects. Black sheep marks a significant departure from the typical themes of Böll’s early texts in the attempt to describe the new technocratic and functionalistic Germany of the first phase of the “Wirtschaftswunder”. Alongside innovative stylistic peculiarities – such as the use of picaresque elements and the connection of the past and the present in the temporal narrative structure – the short story furthermore presents a theme which will acquire great importance in the German Literature of the 1950s: the non-conformist hero who wishes to escape from the new society that was built out of the ruins of the Second World War.