Holocaust And Genres The Holocaust Is One Term Paper

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Holocaust and Genres

The Holocaust is one of the most profound, disturbing, and defining events in modern history. As such, stories of the Holocaust have been told by a wide variety of storytellers, and in a wide variety of ways. The treatment of a specific theme such as the Holocaust can be profoundly different both between different and within different genres. As such, this paper describes the treatment of the Holocaust in Elie Wiesel's Night, Art Spiegelman's Maus: A Survivor's Tale, Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful, Alain Resnais' Night and Fog. Each of these different works provides a unique and important look at the Holocaust, illustrating that different genres and approaches can be effective in conveying an event as important and profound as the Holocaust.

Elie Wiesel's book, Night, tells the semi-autobiographical tale of fourteen-year-old Eliezer Wiesel who is sent to Holocaust concentration camps. Throughout the novel, the author struggles to find meaning in the horror of the events that surround Eliezer. The death camps consume his family, and Eliezer is left with the horrific guilt of survival. He tries desperately to understand how God could have allowed these terrible events.

In Night, the author ultimately fails to make sense of the horrors of the Holocaust. He vividly recreates the terror of life in the camps, and shows countless examples of inhumanity both in the actions of the Germans, and in the actions of many of the prisoners themselves. Eliezer seeks constantly to find meaning and understanding, and ultimately resigns himself to the knowledge that the events of his experience seem to be beyond comprehension. Overall, Night is a disturbing look at how the horrors of the Holocaust, and man's ability to inflict pain and torture on each other can never be truly understood.

Art Spiegelman's book, Maus: A Survivor's Tale, tells the story of his parent's survival in concentration camps in the form of a cartoon narrative. The juxtaposition of the cartoon characters with the Holocaust provides a disturbing and surreal telling of the tale of Spiegelman's
...In the cartoons, the Nazi's are cats, Jews are mice, Americans are dogs, and the French are drawn as frogs.

The use of cartoon images has a number of effects on the reader. First, cartoon images may potentially make the topic more accessible to readers (such as children). Second, the use of cartoons breaks the sense of familiarity of readers who are used to black and white images of the Holocaust, and disturbing narratives of the inhumanity of the death camps. The end result is to draw the reader in closer to the horror of the Holocaust.

In Life is Beautiful, Director Roberto Benigni seeks to create a film that showcases the power of humanity and humor over terrible events and tragedy. Life is Beautiful begins with a relatively benign introduction to the life of Guido, an Italian waiter in the 1930s. Guido arrives in town, and immediately falls in love with Dora, and seeks to win her away from the Fascist town clerk. Through a series of misadventures, Guido is mistaken for a school inspector, and the movie almost begins to seem like a homage to the silent films of actors like Charlie Chaplin. The audience does not even learn that Guido is Jewish until well in the movie, underscoring Benigni's intention to first depict the humanity of his characters before delving into the Holocaust. Guido and Dora marry, and Benigni shows them doting on their five-year-old son, Joshua.

Here, the movie begins to take a subtle and insidious turn. The Nazis take over the town that happily married Dora and Guido live in, and Guido and Joshua are loaded on a train, accompanied by Dora, who is not Jewish, but refuses to leave her family. In the train, Benigni shows Guido's attempts to comfort his son through humor, and the creation of games. In the camp, Guido continues the games, trying to shelter Guido from the horrific realities of the camps.

In his depiction of Guido's unfailing desire to maintain his humanity, Benigni clearly shows the importance of the human spirit. Against the backdrop of the…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Life is Beautiful. 2002. Director: Roberto Benigni. Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano, Sergio Bustric, Horst Buchholz. Miramax Home Entertainment.

Night and Fog. 1955. Director Alain Resnais. Starring: Michel Bouquet (narrator).

Spiegelman, Art. 1986. Maus: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History/Here My Troubles Began/Boxed. New York; Pantheon Books.

Wiesel, Elie. 1982. Night. New York; Bantam.

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