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On The Definition Of Right: Personal Perspectives

822 words - 4 pages

Morally good, justifiable or acceptable, that is the foremost definition of the word right. (Fowler) How one person applies that to themselves and the community they are surrounded by transforms the personal meaning of this word in as many ways as there are individuals. In the particular application with the concept of forgiving and forgetting, it becomes a matter of faith and morality that each being holds themself too. After reading Simon Wiesenthal’s The Sunflower, my personal definition of the word right has taken a whole new form. I believe that right means anything that can be not only accepted by one’s conscious mind, but also by one’s subconscious mind. It means that you not only can acknowledge what you did, but also be defined by your actions. If when awake, you have utmost conviction in your decision and stand firm to your behaviors, yet have nightmares in your sleep or in the aspect of God, you have not done right.
The Sunflower is Simon Wiesenthal’s firsthand account of an extraordinary experience while being held in a Nazi concentration camp. While being assigned to work at a Red Cross hospital in his former high school, a nurse encounters him and inquires Simon to come with her. She takes Simon up into the school where he eventually ends up in the dean’s office, which has now been converted into a “death room.” Inside on a bed is lying a dying SS soldier, Karl, who requests Simon to come to his side. What occurs next is the focal point of the whole book, the Karl asks Simon, a Jew, to forgive him for all the wrongdoing that he has caused the Jewish community. Befuddled at Karl’s request and the fact that he had told Simon in detail of the gruesome events in which he participated, Simon leaves him with no answer, giving Karl solace only in the fact that he repented and tried to mend an fatal wound between himself and the Jews. It is here that the construct of forgiving and forgetting comes into play and it is here also that my definition of right applies most intimately to Simon. Simon feels as if he cannot forgive Karl for the atrocities he has committed and as Simon’s friend Josek explains, Simon cannot speak forgiveness for the whole of the Jewish community, as he has no permissions or right to do so. This is where Josek explains that Simon could in fact forgive Karl for what he has done, but it would have no actual meaning and would...

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