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All But My Life Analysis Essay

The desire for power, fear, and self-preservation can cause people to change in ways one could not imagine. In the story, Night by Elie Wiesel, and Gerda Weissman Klein’s All But My Life, the authors share their tragic experiences from their times in Nazi concentration camps. In Addition, Klein’s All But My Life shows her experience in many different concentration camps for three years and how differently female inmates were treated than male. In Wiesel’s Night, he discusses his experience of being sent to Auschwitz along with his father for a year and how the tragedies he endured transformed his character.

In Addition, Klein’s All But My Life shows her experience in many different concentration camps for three years and how differently female inmates were treated than male inmates. Throughout the accounts of both Wiesel’s and Klein’s time in the camps, it is notable that the internal and external factors that affect the roles people play include the desire for power, fear, and self- preservation. During this time, the desire for power had dramatically risen within the German population. “Three days later.. every Jew had to wear the yellow star..

Then came the ghettos. ” (Wiesel 11) This quote shows that the Germans had tarted to mistreat the Jewish community, including Elie, and his father, making the Germans the perpetrators in this event. Moreover, Wiesel stumbles upon Idek and a Polish woman having sexual intercourse while Idek was supposed to be working. Wiesel gets caught and gets twenty five whiplashes as punishment. “Listen to me, you son of a swine! said Idek coldly.

You shall receive five times more if you dare tell anyone what you saw! Understood? (Wiesel 58) This quote shows Idek abusing his power by hitting Elie with a whip, leaving Elie as the victim, Idek as the collaborator, and the Polish girl as a collaborator. Lastly, in Gerda Klein’s All But My Life, Gerda sees a woman, named Mrs. Berger slap a girl in the camp for no reason. “When [Klein] returned to [her] bunk [she] saw Mrs. Berger slap a girl. Later Mrs. Berger told [Klein] that she had to do it, to establish her authority. ” (2) This shows that Mrs. Berger abused her power and used physical abuse and slapped a girl, making her the perpetrator, and the girl a victim.

The desire for power is a powerful factor which can lead people to take villainous action, hence Mrs. Berger, the Germans, and Idek all undergoing a role change due to the influence of the desire for power. Fear is a constant feeling that everyone will encounter, and it will cause people to act differently. In one incident, Wiesel and his father were transferred to a barrack that was run by a Gypsy inmate who beats Wiesel’s father for asking to go to the toilet. Wiesel stated how he, “stood petrified.. and kept silent. when his father was being beaten (39).

Wiesel had fear of being beaten himself, and does nothing to save his father from being beaten by the gypsy, leaving Wiesel as a bystander. Also, Wiesel records one event where the SS officers were rushing the Jews during the march to avoid any contact with the Russian army. The SS made us increase our pace… The SS were running as well. ” (Wiesel 85). The SS were afraid of being caught by the Russian army, so they too had to run alongside the Jews, making the SS victims, and the Russians the perpetrators.

Lastly, Klein recalls an incident where a girl was being beaten in front of her while Klein just stood there, taking no action. preservation is the most important factor in determining which role people play. In Night, Wiesel speaks of the one inmate abandoning his father, who was growing tired during a march in order to increase his chance of survival, leading him to be a perpetrator. VWhat if he wanted to be rid of his father? He had felt his father growing weaker, and believing the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival. ( Wiesel 91)

The Self- quote explains to the reader that self-preservation had caused the Rabbi’s son to abandon his own father in increase his chance of survival, who eventually died. making him the perpetrator for his own death. This shows that self-preservation can cause unexpected events to occur. In Klein’s story, All But My Life, Gerda Klein describes when an inmate got shot by an SS Officer when she went to a milk can to see if there was anything left. “One girl spotted a milk can leaning against a tree. She ran out of line to see if there was any milk in it.

An SS man grabbed her by the neck, forced her to her knees. I saw her turn, petrified, when he took the rifle from his shoulder. Mercy, Mercy! she pleaded. She threw her arms up as he fired. ” (Klein 9-10) Even though the prisoners of the camps were on a death march, and could not get out of line, one inmate spotted a milk can, came out of line, ran toward it to see if there was any milk left in vain, and eventually got shot by an SS officer. ust as the previous paragraph, the inmate made herself a perpetrator for her own death. This shows a sign of self-preservation. Wiesel himself also shows signs of self-preservation.

In the story, he thinks that he would never abandon his father, but when he does lose his father, he feels as if a burden was lifted from his shoulders. “I woke up at dawn on January 29. On my father’s cot lay another sick person. They must have taken him away before day-break and taken him to the crematorium… I did not weep… Free at last! Wiesel, who was eternally devoted to his father ventually lost him to the Nazi camp, and even after this terrible event, Wiesel did not shed a tear over his loss. He felt a sense of freedom, and a feeling of being able to survive in the camp, making him a bystander in the end.

This event shows that even the most devoted of people can undergo a change when self- preservation plays a role. Self-preservation truly is a life- changing matter. As shown, self preservation drastically changed the roles of the Jews mentioned as it caused them to do some actions they probably never thought they would do. The experiences of Wiesel and Klein have shown that internal actors such as the need for power, the constant terror of living in a concentration camp and the need to sustain one’s self all drastically change the actions people take in a certain situation.

A powerful desire for power can cause people to exert their force in order to establish a clear position of power. Power can change people and once they obtain the power, the desire for more does not cease. Power is difficult to control or not desire. When someone desires power, it causes people to act differently, handle situations more aggressively or harm others at the expense of increasing their authority or power.

The fear of death and being hurt causes people to make some choices they would not normally make, which causes people to act rationally with their only thought being to somehow stay alive for as long as possible. Self-preservation is the main reason why people can have a dramatic change in personality. Even the strongest and most stubborn people can undergo a change of personality when self-preservation plays a role in the event. Nobody ever plays a certain role for life, for there will always be some cause that will cause a change in the personality of anyone no matter who they are.

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