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Perspectives on the Individual (general)

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HannaCooper
3 months ago

Night by Elie Wiesel and the Autography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X & Alex Haley share a similar theme of commitment to God. The theme of commitment to God is the overriding conflict in the Night by Elie Wiesel due to a number of reasons. In the beginning of the book, Elie’s faith in God can be regarded as absolute. It is demonstrated by the fact that when Elie was asked why he used to pray to God, he answered in such questions as “Why do I live? Why do I breathe? Why do I pray?” (Elie 56). It clearly demonstrates his strong belief in a supreme, compassionate God who is unconditional. In this scenario, he could not fancy living with no faith in the divine power. However, Elie’s faith was influenced by his experience at the moment of the Holocaust. Elie’s faith resulted from the learning about Jewish mysticism. Actually, according to Jewish mysticism, God is always present in all places of the universe, and there is nothing devoid of God. He also learned from it that everything within the Earth is a reflection or emanation of the heavenly world. In different terms, Elie grew up with the powerful belief that all things of the universe mirror’s the power and holiness of God. His faith was based on the notion that God exists in all places, and his spirituality touches all the aspects of his everyday life.

However, Eli’s began to doubt his faith during the Holocaust. In this regard, he could not understand how the concentration camps’ horrible brutality could possibly mirror divinity. He used to wonder how a compassionate God would be component of such depravity, and how God would allow such brutality to occur. Additionally, his faith was influenced by the selfishness and cruelty he used to see among the prisoners. Eli would have understood the Nazi menace to be an evil abnormality were it that the prisoners united to oppose the brutal repression of the Nazis (Elie 60). In this scenario, he would be capable of maintaining the conviction that human race is fundamentally good. However, he viewed that the Holocaust exposed the evil, cruelty, and selfishness every person including the Nazis, his fellow Jew prisoners, and even him was capable of. Elie felt that if the world was so cruel and repulsive, then God either ought to be cruel and repulsive or not to prevail at all. Despite the fact that the realization appeared to almost obliterate his faith, Elie managed to maintain a certain degree of faith through all his experiences (Elie 61).

The similar theme of commitment to God is demonstrated in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. As Malcolm asserts, when he was a child, he used to see his parents being destroyed by the white society, and he felt sorry about the black’s plight (Malcolm 90). However, his attitude changed after several experiences in the New York and Boston black ghettos. There, he realized that blacks should not accept assistance from the whites. The Islam teachings that he received in custody caused an extra change in his character, i.e. his negative perception of white people and commitment to God. In this case, he embraced a systematic hatred for the whites (Malcolm 90). However, his later voyage to the Middle East brought about another weighty change. His moving away from the Islam American Nation coincided with his newly-discovered belief that black people would be victorious in their equal rights struggle merely if they identified themselves with suppressed people all over the globe. After going through several phases of hardships and viewing the race problem from various perspectives, Malcolm was capable of settling on the philosophy that he truly believed: absolute faith and commitment to God by all people irrespective of race, age, and gender (Malcolm 91).

Another similar theme in the two books under consideration is inhumanity and racism. In Elie’s book Night, the theme of inhumanity and racism is portrayed in some instances. As a matter of fact, Elie’s spiritual fight results from his doubts concerning both God and everything that surrounds Him. After undergoing the brutality in concentration camps, Elie could no longer understand the world of God. It is demonstrated not only by his bitter experience with the Nazi maltreatment but also the prisoners’ brutality toward each other (Elie 115). Elie also became aware of the brutality he was capable of demonstrating himself. Everything that he saw in the battle showed him how terrible people can treat each other. Actually, that revelation greatly disturbed him. The initial insensible brutality Elie witnessed was that of the Nazis (Elie 115). Surprisingly, on the Nazis’ first arrival, they did not appear to be monstrous at all. Elie remembers that the initial impressions of Germans were the most encouraging. At first, the Nazis’ attitude toward their hosts was polite but distant. Actually, several characteristics of the Holocaust are unintelligible, but, perhaps, it was the most hard to comprehend how the people could so heartlessly butcher numerous guiltless victims. Elie’s work the Night demonstrates that cruelty yields cruelty. It can be attributed to the fact that prisoners turned against one another instead of comforting each another during their difficult moments (Elie 117). According to the book, Elie was told that in the camp, there were no friends, fathers, or brothers. Thus, every man was supposed to think and fight only for himself as everyone lived and passed away alone (Elie 118).

On the other hand, the similar theme of inhumanity and racism can be seen in The Autobiography of Malcolm X in diverse ways. First, white people surrounding Malcolm regarded him as half human because of his race and dark skin. Malcolm experienced restrained racism in school and family who treated him differently as he was black (Malcolm 102). He also had bad attitude towards the whites. In turn, Malcolm dehumanized particular white people as avenge for his personal subjugation. In Boston, he displayed Sophia, his white girlfriend, as his status symbol seeing her more as a desirable object rather than a person.

The story that demonstrates the theme of inhumanity and racism similarly to the Night and The Autobiography of Malcolm X is the short story “I stand Here Ironing” in the book Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen and Deborah Silverton Rosenfelt. In the story, the narrator takes the readers nineteen years back, when she gave birth to her dear daughter Emily. Emily’s father treated her mother brutally because they came from dissimilar communities (78). He even decided to leave the family as he knew that Emily’s mother would find it hard for her to get a good job to support the family as she was from a minor community. When the main character remarried and gave birth to her second daughter Susan, Emily came down with the measles. When Emily was taken to the convalescent home, she received unfair treatment from the doctors by being neglected and even discharged before recovering from measles just because some doctors and nurses were from different community from that of Emily (Rose & Olsen 81). Similarly, the theme of inhumanity and racism is evident in Emily’s multiethnic school, where her friends from different communities treated her badly including isolating, mocking, and abusing her due to her illness. Additionally, only few friends agreed to be friends with her.

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