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Elie Wiesel's "Night" And Mark Mathabane's "The Road To Alexandra" Exemplify The Similarities In The Holocaust And Apartheid.

913 words - 4 pages

History Repeats ItselfDuring World War II thousands of Jews were persecuted simply because of their race. They were forced into concentration camps and ghettos, where-if not killed-they were forced to endure harsh labor and living conditions. When World War II ended in 1945, the Jews were freed from the concentration camps. It seemed that the world realized that Hitler's idea of a 'perfect race' and the persecution of people just because they were Jewish was wrong. Yet, barely three years later the practice of apartheid became the governing policy in South Africa. The word apartheid means "separateness" in the Afrikaans language. It described the rigid racial division between the governing white minority population and the nonwhite majority population. The similarity of these situations seems unreal, especially because they are separated by only a period of three years. The phrase "history repeats itself" has never seemed so true. The similarities of these periods are evident in Elie Wiesel's Night, and Mark Mathabane's The Road to Alexandra.Elie Wiesel's Night is a tale of murder and man's inhumanity to mankind. The novel shows the journey that the Wiesel family makes to the concentration camps. Elie Wiesel endured the hardships of three of the worst concentration camps in Germany, and he saw his family, friends, and fellow Jews degraded and murdered. They were innocent victims who were destroyed simply because they were Jewish. Death is present throughout the novel. It is depicted through the constant torture that went on, and the decaying smell of dead bodies piercing the prisoner's nostrils. Elie almost succumbs to death during the long march in the cold and bitter night, but doesn't give in to death's beckoning because of his father. 'Death wrapped itself around me till I was stifled (Wiesel 82). But Elie's father, his condition gradually declining because of dysentery, is eventually taken off to the crematories during night's unforgiving harshness, while possibly still alive. Violence threatens the characters during the story. When first entering the concentration camps, the Jews quickly realize that the Nazis hold the power of life and death over them. The Nazis also had the power to erase their individual identities when they are shaved, doused in petrol, and given identical, ill-fitting clothing. They are denied any sort of personality whatsoever. The novel describes the fear and loss of hope in a 14-year-old boy. Elie is isolated from his family, and he is forced to grow up at an incredibly fast speed in order to protect himself.Similarly, Mark Mathabane's The Road to Alexandra illustrates the fear of apartheid during an early morning police raid in Mark's neighborhood. The essay...

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