Beloved Essay

1111 words - 5 pages

“Challenging the meaning of life is the truest expression of the state of being human.” Viktor Frankl accounted his experience at the Auschwitz concentration camp in a book named “Man’s Search for Meaning”. Other than the never-ending work & the heinous events he witnessed, Frankl documented the advice of a fellow colleague, the thought of suicide, his relationship with the Capo, and many more aspects of the Holocaust that people have not delved into. Comparable to the adversity felt by Frankl, Toni Morrison chronicles the struggle of slavery in North America in her book “Beloved”. Morrison illustrates the psychological impact of slavery through the characters Paul D, Sethe, and Denver’s repression of their memories. With the help of each other, they accept their past and piece the fragments of their identities together. Man’s Search for Meaning and Beloved both describe the hardships of two very appalling times in human history: the Holocaust & slavery in North America, respectively. Similarly, Frankl and Morrison emphasize the destruction these events have on human identity, the importance of community to survive, & meaning as the primary purpose of life, of which love is an origin. The Stranger on the other hand, written by Albert Camus, highlights the idea of the Absurd, where there is no meaning to life.
The environment of a concentration camp & slavery in North America dismantled the victim’s identities, while the support of other victims helped them survive. In the “second stage of his psychological reactions,” (Frankl, 34) his feelings “were blunted, and he watched unmoved” (Frankl, 34) at a twelve-year-old boy who had frostbite all over his toes due working outside without shoes on. The environment abundant with “the dying and the dead” (Frankl, 34) made him “insensitive to daily and hourly beatings.. surrounding himself with a very necessary protective shell”. (Frankl, 35) Frankl reiterates that the Auschwitz concentration camp killed desensitized and killed any identity the prisoners had through the horrendous conditions, undernourishment, and the nonstop beatings and killings. Likewise, Paul D during his time in Georgia, witnessed firsthand and had to withstand the horrors of slavery. His masters "shoved him into the box and dropped the cage door down.” (Morrison, 126) Paul D slept in a box that was holed in the ground while chained fifty other men sleeping in the same sized box in the same sized holes. The fragmenting effects of slavery prompted Paul D to “keep everything where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be. Its lid rusted shut”. (Morrison, 86) Paul D’s identity, parallel to Frankl’s, is demoralized and his feelings are repressed. Frankl’s and Paul D’s fight to get their identities back is bolstered by their respective communities. In Frankl’s situation, “if one man slipped, he endangered not only himself but all the others who carried the same girder”. (Frankl, 36) The prisoner’s...

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