Adversity Of A Survivor: Synthesis Essay

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Thesis: As this classic work shows, adversity can bring out the worst in the human spirit.

The Adversity of a Survivor

One character who demonstrates the worst under adversity is Elie himself. For example, when Elie was marching, in front of a fiery pit, his father points out the flames: “Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live.”(32). When Elie sees “those flames which consumed [his] faith forever”, this shows that one of his first evil experiences had left him losing his faith in
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For example, when Chlomo believes that Elie is going to the crematory, his father believes his son will die in front of him: “”I realized that he did not want to see what they were going to do to me. He did not want to see the burning of his only son. My forehead was bathed in cold sweat. But I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it… ‘Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible, even these crematories.’”(30). When Chlomo says “humanity is not concerned with [them]”, he believes he will witness the death of his son which leaves him hopeless. From being the religious man Chlomo was before he entered the camp, he is now someone with no faith in mankind. Additionally, when Elie is on a train with a group of men he witnesses something tragic: “A shadow had just loomed up near him. The shadow threw himself upon him. Felled to the ground, stunned with blows, the old man cried: “ Meir. Meir, my boy! Don’t you recognize me? I’m your father… you’re hurting me… you’re killing your father! I’ve got some bread.. For you too.. For you too..” He collapsed. His fist was still clenched around a small piece. He tried to carry it to his mouth. But the other one threw himself upon him and snached it. The old man again whispered something, let out a rattle, and died amid the general indifference”(96).
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