Central Idea: What is the author’s central purpose in writing this non-fiction piece. Can you detect a thesis or argument? What is it? Do you agree with his/her ideas?
Tragedy and fear can bring a lot out in people. Sometimes the result isn’t noble or something to be proud of. People abandon others, even loved ones, when the tragedy and fear are too difficult to bear. Children are abandoned in some countries due to birth defects, which could be for more cultural than personal reasons. People who are accused of crimes are sometimes ignored, neglected and overlooked by others, even close friends and relatives, even after their cases are dismissed. It’s just too frightening to be around a deformed person or someone who might be a criminal. However, this isn’t entirely our fault. When we were younger the cartoons taught us that the guy who looks different however the word may be described is the monster or the bad guy. In addition to this, our parents always taught us not to be bad and to stay away from the bad kids because at least in my case, they weren’t going to heaven.
However, in many cases, tragedy draws people closer together and reveals one’s true nature. The good and caring element of the human experience is that most people have a deep empathy for their fellow man. And when a loved one is in trouble, those who love him rally their support and see him through to resolution.
An example of conflict is illustrated in the novel Night by Elie Weisel when Elie says “first impressions of the Germans were most reassuring. . . . Their attitude toward their hosts was distant but polite.”
So many aspects of the Holocaust are inexcusable, but perhaps the most difficult to understand is how human beings could so willingly slaughter millions of innocent victims. Moreover, we know that the Nazi’s enjoyed the burning and hanging of jews as they referred to it as “Sunday’s entertainment.” Wiesel highlights this incomprehensible tragedy by pulling the Nazis into focus first as human beings, and then, as the memoir shifts to the concentration camps, showing the brutal atrocities that they committed. As this is the first time Elie realizes the conflict that is happening, not much change occurs as he hasn’t been affected by the tragedies too much. However, as the book continues the setting as well as circumstances change, becoming more hostile. The loss of unity allows them to adopt an everyone for themselves mentality, a clear example for this is once more when the Kapo says, “Here, every man has to fight for himself and not think of anyone else. . . . Here, there are no fathers, no brothers, no friends. Everyone lives and dies for himself alone.”
The tragedy and inner fear of the situation have caused the prisoners to forget their morals, religion, and most importantly family. The Kapo’s statement really captured the change of heart as self-preservation became everyone’s number one priority.