The Moral Dilemma In Gilkey's 'Shantung Compound'

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The Moral Dilemma Strange dilemma means a different or unique choice that is not pleasant. In his memoir, Shantung Compound, Langdon Gilkey discusses the strange dilemma he has to deal with. He is in a concentration camp that is in China, but controlled by the Japanese, where he and other internees have to create a community. They have to have a way to cook food, create beds for people, and have necessary life necessities to live in the camp. There is a literal meaning to Gilkey’s strange dilemma, but there is also a philosophical and underlying meaning behind it. When Gilkey says he has a strange dilemma, I believe he is talking about how human life and its interdependence is a strange dilemma. Gilkey wants the community to share with their neighbors and consider everyone else along with…show more content…
The way he is looking at the issue he believes everyone does everything for many different reasons. What is the cause behind their thought processes and what makes them do what they do in everyday life? What keeps someone to be moral? How do humans view morality? These are the questions that plague Gilkey’s dilema. Humans are also very interdependent of one another. Humans have the need to depend on one another and seek acceptance. In the concentration camp, several people have been stealing from one another through the resources that they have available to cook, keep warm, and many other important necessities. Outside of camp life, people would be sent to jail or shamed in their communities, but in this camp going to jail would be a nice place and the community of the camp doesn’t seem to care that people are stealing. It is an accepted part of the community; they don’t care. In other words, a strange dilemma is how humans view their morality and their interdependence of life. They can view it as their moral obligations through religion or through viewing life through many different
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