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Life in Death: Finding Meaning in Life while Dying - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 5 December 2011 Life in Death: Finding Meaning in Life while Dying The Holocaust has a hidden face- the millions of children's faces who died in the ghettos. I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Celeste Raspanti is based on a true story about these children, whose names will not be completely forgotten because of this heart-wrenching play…
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Life in Death: Finding Meaning in Life while Dying
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"Life in Death: Finding Meaning in Life while Dying"

Download file to see previous pages This play depicts the anguish and hope of Raja Englanderova, together with other prisoners and their teacher, Irena Synkova. Irena encouraged her students to express themselves through stories and poems. Raspanti uses irony to express that during the Holocaust, as children slowly died from hunger and physical and psychological maltreatment, that was a time when they also fully lived. Before Terezin, many people live in comfortable lives, but they have not lived at all. Since they are children, their lives revolve around simple pleasures. The children in I Never Saw Another Butterfly mention cups of chocolate, rugs, and clothes. But these are all material possessions. Their youth and social class have somewhat disabled them to appreciate the finer things in life that are not things. In Terezin, the children lose not only their physical comforts, but their identity. They are torn away from their families, who are part of their social identities. Then, these children are labeled to become prisoners, so that they will forget who they are. For instance, Holocaust prisoners are dehumanized by tattooing them with numbers. Raja, when asked about her name, points to her tattoo (Raspanti 11). She has imbibed the Nazi's psychological conditioning that aims for her and all other prisoners to feel that they are animals. Being numbered is one of the many ways that these children are stripped of human dignity and integrity. After the children lost everything, they realize that life is not about wealth or social class, because these are what give meaning to life: love, family, and freedom. Raspanti uses a situational irony: when all is lost, everything can be gained. The children are dying, but they also fully lived. Children once had freedom, but since it was a given, it was not important until it was lost. In the ghettos, they receive “undeserved slaps, blows, and executions” (Raspanti 27). But somehow, they were meant to learn something important about life. The “butterfly” is a recurring word in this play, because it represents life and freedom. When there are butterflies, one thinks of gardens and flowers. These are beautiful images; they are images of life. Raspanti stresses that “Butterflies don't live here in the ghetto” (Raspanti 23). It means that the children know that they will die in the ghettos, not only because of hunger, cold, and sicknesses, but more importantly, because of the absence of love and hope. Desperate conditions bridge people to important realizations, nevertheless. The children learn to “appreciate ordinary things”that were taken for granted before, such as freedom and access to basic needs (Raspanti 25). One child remarks that walking freely and riding the train or bus suddenly became meaningful, because these experiences are now “out of reach” (Raspanti 25). Furthermore, the children had the fortune of having a loving teacher, Irena Synkova. Irena loves her students with an obsession of ensuring the “survival in them of what is best” (Raspanti 8). Their humanity and capacity for love and hope- there are the best traits of these children. Frankl says: “The salvation of man is through love and in love” (46). Irenka saved these children, even when many have died inside, because she made them feel human through loving them. Through songs, poems, and stories, Irena also helps children remember what they might forget- they are still human beings with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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