The Dehumanization Of Prisoners In Night And Life Is Beautiful

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“What happened to me? My father had just been struck, in front of me, and I had not even blinked. I had watched and kept silent” (Wiesel 39). Many of the prisoners were subject to abuse both mentally and physically and were in turn affected both mentally and socially. Prisoners commonly became dehumanized and in the case of Elie and his father, became more distant socially. Two very similar yet very different accounts of the Holocaust are the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel and the movie Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni. Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor and author of the 1955 autobiography Night as well as over forty other acclaimed works and Roberto Benigni is the writer, director, and lead actor in the movie Life is Beautiful which was …show more content…

In each account, prisoners are given miniscule amounts of food, many times just enough to keep them alive. When Elie was at his hungriest, he had “only one desire: to eat,” even stating that he would dream “only about soup, an extra ration of soup” (Wiezel 113). When someone gets to the point of dreaming about food as opposed to magical fantasy lands or amazing life experiences, it shows that they are dehumanized to the point where their world revolves around eating their tiny ration of soup and bread. Obviously food is essential to human life but if someone were to eat the same bad quality soup each and every meal for a while, any dream they had of it would not be a pleasant one. Along with being fed minute rations of soup, prisoners were forced to work days upon days of hard, manual labor and are shown in the film with scenes of Guido struggling to carrying around heavy anvils along with scenes in the barracks showing the exhaustion undergone by the prisoners (Benigni). Throughout the scenes, the men are shown exhausted and suffering during and after their labor. The two hour movie is already pressed for time so when Benigni decides to devote numerous scenes to show how tired and in turn dehumanized the prisoners are, it truly shows how impactful and important it is in relation to the Holocaust.. In both accounts of the tragedy, the theme of dehumanization is depicted and displayed in similar ways, but for other themes, Benigni and Wiesel depicted them in contrasting

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