Indifference: A Poison That Spreads Essay

1334 words - 6 pages

In the novel “Night” by Elie Wiesel, the author displays the transformation and the evolution of the average human being, through a horrible experience that he personally went through. When he is transported from one place to another, forced to leave everything behind, to go live in the ghettos, then in a horrible concentration camp. In the concentration camp Elie experiences numerous events that challenges his physical and mental limits. Some of these events made him question his faith, and whether there is such a thing as God, turning him from a conservative Jew to a reform Jew. Elie doesn’t love the concentration camps, yet he doesn’t hate it, in fact he does not care anymore. At a conference in 1986 Elie explains “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference”. (Elie Wiesel), meaning that opposite of love is not hate, it’s getting used to use to the situation, to the point that the person doesn’t care whether what is happening is right or wrong. In the novel Elie experience physical, mental, and spiritual pain, that test his humanity and morality.
Firstly, physical pain. In the concentration camps the most important thing is to survive, and the only way to do that is to follow orders blindly and do not upset the officer in charge. But it appears that even if you don’t do anything, you still get in trouble, and the only reason is because the Kapo is in a bad mood. In the concentration camps, inmates are used to violence, violence surrounds them from everywhere, whether it be the guns on the guards’ shoulders, the whip in the Kapo’s hands, or simply the treatment of their fellow inmates. The camps turn humans into animals, making a son kill his own father over a piece of bread or some soup. Elie experiences the violence first hand, on more than one different occasion. In his Night he describes that “One day when Idek was venting his fury, I happened to cross his path. He threw himself on me like a wild beast, beating me in the chest, on my head, throwing me to the ground and picking me up again, crushing me with ever more violent blows, until I was covered in blood. As I bit my lips in order not to howl with pain, he must have mistaken my silence for defiance and so he continued to hit me harder and harder.”(Wiesel 53). That shows that in the camps one did not have to do much to be a victim of violence. Physical violence becomes indifferent and when an individual is introduced to on a day to day basis, it becomes a normality, even though it is wrong they do not care anymore.
Secondly, mental and emotional pain. Living in a concentration camp for quit sometime Elie notices a difference within his personality. Watching one person die can be scary and traumatising, let alone watching hundreds, even thousands of people die on daily basis. Elie’s mentality changes to a survivalist mentality, putting any means of survival ahead of anything else, his new best friends’ soup and bread become the most important thing in his life, both of them...

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