Children play a vital role in the work of Ilse Aichinger. Through an analysis of
Die grössere Hoffnung and other texts, this monograph sets out to explore their significance within Aichinger's world-view, and the implications of this for her writing. The key to these questions lies in Aichinger's interpretation of Matthew 18:3: 'Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.' For Aichinger, this is 'vielleicht das härteste Gebot der Bibel' (
Kleist, Moos, Fasane), because she equates becoming 'as little children' with 'die Ergebung in das ø...!, woran wir nichts können' (
Kleist, Moos, Fasane). The helpless child is a metaphor for humanity, and the 'Spiel' (game, play) of the child is a celebration of life in the face of death.