Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


First Advisor

Edward Dawson

Date of this Version

Summer 7-2021


Etheredge, Christopher. Readings of (Non-)Consumption in Jan-Ole Gerster's Oh Boy (2012). July, 2021. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MA thesis.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Modern Languages and Literatures, Under the Supervision of Professor Edward Dawson. Lincoln, Nebraska: June, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Christopher G. Etheredge


This thesis consists of a series of close readings of consumptive acts in Jan-Ole Gerster’s debut film, Oh Boy (2012). I argue that the analysis of consumptive acts enables the viewer to develop a more nuanced understanding of the characters and their relationships to one another. Furthermore, these consumptive acts shift our understanding of other themes present within the film, such as the characters’ confrontations with their past and with feelings of guilt. Confrontations with the past have played a large role in many scholars’ and interpreters’ understanding of the film, as it encourages in some ways reading Oh Boy as an allegory for post-unification Germany. The analyses undertaken here dedicate less attention to the film’s allegorical function and investigate to a greater extent another theme that can be found throughout, the tension between the private and the public. This tension occupies a central position in these readings as its interactions with acts of consumption are striking.

Advisor: Edward Dawson