This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Irish Potato Famine And The Holocaust In Literature

5999 words - 24 pages

The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust in Literature

Writers often use literature as a means of communicating traumatic events that occur in history, and such events are recorded by first-hand accounts as well as remembered by people far removed from the situation. Two traumatic events in history that are readily found in literature are The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust. A literary medium that has been used quite poignantly to convey trauma is poetry and the poetry from these two historical traumatic events is not difficult to find. Some wrote poetry to maintain their sanity as they experienced the traumatic event while others wrote after-the-fact as an outlet for emotional pain. Some wrote in remembrance of what they had lived through and so that others in succeeding generations could fathom even a glimpse of their traumatic experience. Another group of writers, far removed from the events, felt they had some light to shed on the subject. These people may be from a background similar to the victims or very learned on the matter surrounding it. A reader may wonder why poetry is such a viable option for conveying the trauma of so many people. Hilda Schiff writes, “the contemporaneous literature of any period of history is not only an integral part of that period, but it also allows us to understand historical events and experiences better than the bare facts alone can do because they enable us to absorb them inwardly” (xiv). The facts are raw and bare, like a skeleton. The literature and poetry add the skin and features to the bones to make the people and images they represent more realistic.

Historians hope that by teaching younger generations about historical mistakes of the past, the knowledge will assure the event does not happen again. It is important to note that, “not all of the poems are great as art, but they are great as documents of humanity at its best, rejecting silent acquiescence in the face of brute force, and beautifully fulfilling the poet’s duty to remind new generations of this genocide…so that the past will not be repeated” (Kramer xiv). The author also benefits from writing about the trauma; a need to express what has happened, is quenched. It is shown that the “literature of trauma is written from the need to tell and retell the story of the traumatic experience, to make it ‘real’ both to the victim and to the community…[as well as] serving both as a validation and cathartic vehicle for the traumatized author” (Tal 21). The story is larger than the words of the author. His or her life has been permanently altered by trauma, and by acknowledging it in the realm of reality, readers can take part in the trauma.

In both of the historical events above, a great many people faced trauma, pain, starvation, disease, and all for a reason that is difficult, if not impossible to pinpoint. There is no way to determine why either situation occurred in history, but it is possible to examine the...

Find Another Essay On The Irish Potato Famine and The Holocaust in Literature

The Great Irish Potato Famine Essay

776 words - 4 pages Scientist have discovered the cause if the Irish potato famine was due to a fungus with the name of Phytophthora infestans, or “P. infestans”. The fungus doesn’t do so well in hot, dry weather. But when warm and muggy, which happens to be how Irelands climate is in the summer, the fungus flourishes and spreads at an enormous rate. A single plant can release several million spores in one day. When Phytophthora infestans first comes in contact

Graphic Representations of the Irish Potato Famine

2543 words - 11 pages A critical time in Irish History, the Great Irish Potato Famine in known in history books around the world, Europe’s last famine. Between 1845 and 1852 in Ireland was a period of excessive starvation, sickness and exile, known as the great Irish potato famine. During this time The Isle of Ireland lost between twenty and thirty per cent of its people. Although blight ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s the impact and human

Food Security Through the Irish Potato Famine

2281 words - 9 pages the expected crop that year, they were faced with a black, liquid mess. This lead to a 50% loss in potatoes and each family had to fend for themselves and harvest however many potatoes they needed. The potato crops increasingly worsened from 1845 to 1847. Three years of bad potato crops devastated the country of Ireland in more ways than one. What we know it as today as the Irish Potato Famine caused many health and economic problems for the

Irish potato famine

1119 words - 4 pages Irish Potato Famine Cronin 1 Throughout the ordeal of the Irish Potato Famine, c. 1845 - 1850, people throughout the world formed many different views on the situation. Those views formed mainly through information fed to world news agencies by the British government, the ruling power in Ireland at the time. While the Irish starved for lack of food and medical aid, the English government looked on with callous disinterest. English families

Irish Potato Famine

1119 words - 4 pages Irish Potato Famine Cronin 1 Throughout the ordeal of the Irish Potato Famine, c. 1845 - 1850, people throughout the world formed many different views on the situation. Those views formed mainly through information fed to world news agencies by the British government, the ruling power in Ireland at the time. While the Irish starved for lack of food and medical aid, the English government looked on with callous disinterest. English families

Irish Potato Famine

1634 words - 7 pages In the early 1800s life in Ireland wasn’t easy, Irish citizens got by day to day by farming and relying on the potato. The potato was their main source of food and money. With out the potato the Irish would have nothing. No one was prepared for what was about to happen in 1845, the beginning of the Great Irish Potato Famine.      The Irish Potato Famine was the worst tragedy in the history of Ireland. The outcome

How Phytophthora Infestans Affected the Irish Potato Famine

1747 words - 7 pages This paper will discuss the significance of Phytophthora infestans in regards to the mid-nineteenth century Irish potato famine. Phytophthora infestans is an organism that infects potatoes as well as tomatoes and is the cause of the potato famine that invaded Ireland in 1845. The invasiveness and complexity of Phytophthora infestans was responsible for the spread and severity of the outbreak that resulted in mass emigration and death. Ultimately

The Irish Potato Famine and the Population and Social Trends through 1700-1850

1545 words - 6 pages The Great Irish Potato Famine was during a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration through 1845-1850. According to the journal, “The Context of Migration: The Example of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century” by James H. Johnson, this caused the population of Ireland to decrease 20-25% and it did not stabilize again until the 1930’s. Although there was a potato crop failure in Europe in the 1840’s, one third of the Irish population was

Impacts on Humans and Environmental Factors Associating with the Irish Potato Famine

2263 words - 9 pages This project examines the impacts on humans and environmental factors associating with the Irish Potato Famine between the years of 1845 and 1852. This famine was named so due to Irish’s main staple food being potatoes and the affect of those potatoes on that country once they were unable to be grown. Also known as the Great Famine, which occurred in Ireland, this famine created a mass occasion of starvation, emigration, and disease. This

The Potato Famine

1131 words - 5 pages In the mid-1800s Ireland heavily relied on the growth of the potato. The phytophthora infestans spread Ireland quickly infecting all of the potato crops. This paper will cover the many different parts of the potato famine. The potato, who invented the potato, how much Irish people relied on the potato and many other interesting things, as well as the development of the potato. One of the main reasons of that caused the potato famine was that

Microorganisms and the Great Potato Famine in Ireland

1020 words - 5 pages Fungi, often referred to as friendly fungi. In 1928 Penicillin, one of the most famous of antibiotic drugs was discovered having derived it from the fungi called Penicillium. This discovery has since has a huge impact on helping people across the globe. However, not all is it seems, there are some nasty fungi that can cause diseases in plants, animals and people. A famous one being Phytophthora infestans. This caused the Great Potato Famine in

Similar Essays

The Irish Potato Famine Essay

835 words - 4 pages The Irish Potato Famine In the middle of the eighteenth century, Ireland was an agricultural nation. There were approximately eight million people living in the nation. Most of the people were living in an extremely harsh condition. In addition, there were a small percentage of people who were educated. According to The History Place, “Only about a quarter of the population could read and write.” Reasonably, farming became one of the most

The Irish Potato Famine Essay

1565 words - 7 pages reliance on potatoes was one of the main reasons the famine was as destructive as it was. It started in the summer of 1845, when the blight was first discovered. It sickened all of Ireland’s potato crop and the vast majority of the Irish people depended solely on potatoes. Hayden describes it as “simply the most violent episode in a history characterised by violence of every conceivable kind, the inevitable consequence of the destruction of

The Irish Potato Famine Essay

1440 words - 6 pages The Irish Potato Famine Around 1600 A.D. the potato was introduced in Ireland. Because of the high nutrients and ease to grow the crop it was almost instantly adopted by the people, especially by the peasants. With the high nutrient value of the crop, general health increased greatly. Because of better health, the birthrate increased and the death rate decreased making the population from 1600 A.D. to the time of the famine increase by

The Irish Potato Famine And Emigration

2151 words - 9 pages The Irish Potato Famine and Emigration   During the Victorian era, England experienced tremendous growth in wealth and industry while Ireland struggled to survive. The reasons for Ireland's inability to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution are complex, and have been the subject of debate for more than a century. Many English viewed the Irish as stubborn farmers who refused to embrace the new technology. The Irish, however, believed