In his novella Night, Elie Wiesel portrays the horrors he and his family faced at the hands of Nazi Germany through graphic and moving descriptions of his plight. A compelling excerpt, “I watched other hangings. I never saw a single victim weep. These withered bodies had long forgotten the bitter taste of tears,” demonstrates the utter disregard for human life that many of the world’s leaders adopt in times of war, inspiring further research through the evocation of a need to more thoroughly learn about the moral ambiguity that envelops those in positions of power during wartime. This characteristic moral ambiguity of human nature is most clearly seen in the atrocities of war through ...view middle of the document...
The horrors of war not only affect those who lived them, but those who were surrounded by them, as seen in the quotation, “’Do you really think the United States of America is in a state of war with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan?’ (Knowles)” in which the character Finny is so frightened by war that he concocts a story explaining why all of the frightening realities of World War II are happening, showing that the atrocities of war are too horrifying for some people that they would rather make up a scenario than believe them to be true.
Moreover, the atrocities of the Vietnam War, a conflict that traumatized thousands, can be expressed through poetry, as seen in Randall Jarrell’s “Death of the Ball Turret Gunner,” which describes a soldier’s experience manning a turret of an air bomber. Although not specifically written in response to the Vietnam War, this poem expresses many of the sentiments felt by those who fought in it: a senseless disregard for the worth of human life. This is emphasized most clearly in the line, “When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose, (Jarrell)” which describes the callous treatment of the dead turret gunner, rinsing him out like common filth. Another poem, “Vietnamese Morning,” describes an almost peaceful, beautiful scene in this excerpt:
The countryside is panoramic maze,
Jungle, hamlets, hills and waterways,
Bomb-craters, paddies, broken-backed bridges. (Bennett)
which belie the true nature of the picturesque view, a war-torn landscape characterized by fear....