English 4, Period 2
19 February 2019
"When people dehumanize others, they actually conceive of them as subhuman creatures...only then can the process liberate aggression and exclude the target of aggression from the moral community" (David Livingstone Smith). Smith argues that people dehumanize others in order to kill with more ease. Dehumanization comes in many forms and eventually progresses and worsens. The Nazis in Night use this tactic to suppress the imprisoned and weaken them to point where life is no longer an option. When a person experiences dehumanization their survival is threatened, identity is taken, and faith is lost.
Power and dominance: the main goals of dehumanization. In order to maintain this, the Nazis starved and beat the prisoners. The oppressed, so frail and weak, would risk anything for their survival. When “a workman took a piece of bread out of his bag and threw it into the wagon, there was a stampede. Dozens of starving men fought each other to the death for a few crumbs” the extents of the Nazi’s tactics are clearly highlighted (Wiesel 95). With very little food to survive on, the prisoners are forced to turn on each other; they would kill each other for the Nazis. Not only is the starving dehumanized, but the people who toss bread as well. The scene perfectly parallels people tossing scraps at animals in a zoo. Kapos singled out prisoners during selection stating “you...you...you and you...They pointed a finger, as though choosing cattle or
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merchandise” (Wiesel 47). Even fellow prisoners began to see each other as objects or animals. Staying in power was not a problem for the Nazis when they threatened the oppressed survival, thus turning them against themselves. Prisoners could not trust anyone, even themselves, because their identities were long gone.
Conformity and unison kept the oppressed down. Any light of who they were was blown out. First, the Nazis marked those they felt unworthy of humanity. The start of the “new decree: every Jew must wear the yellow star” signified the people losing their individuality (Wiesel 8). The Nazis this way forced conformity upon the Jews. Furthermore, when the Jews became impriso...