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How do the small joys and kindnesses that Elizer describes illustrate the theme of...

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armando990 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 9, 2008 at 5:49 AM via web

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How do the small joys and kindnesses that Elizer describes illustrate the theme of human dignity in the face of inhuman cruelty?

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dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 29, 2009 at 7:47 AM (Answer #1)

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The Holocaust is a fascinating study of human behavior. While the Nazis worked tirelessly to dehumanize their victims, in the face of this there were tremendous acts of humanity and kindness. The Holocaust showed the potential extremes of man's nature which ranged from murderous and nefarious to generous and compassionate. A particularly good example of this is the Jews who were put in charge of other prisoners; they had a choice about whether to treat their fellow prisoners kindly or not. When the imprisoned Jews joined together to say prayers when they had the chance, this reflected man's faith and capacity for hope.

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kmieciakp | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted November 9, 2008 at 9:29 AM (Answer #2)

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Can you please clarify this question that asks so many questions--for instance, what "small joys and kindnesses" are you referring to? Only by looking at the words in those passages can I help you see if the words in the passages 1) do indeed suggest "joys" or "kindnesses" and if so, whether they illustrate "dignity" (no need to add "human") in a world of "cruelty" (no need for the adjective "inhuman").  Also, please clarify the theme you're assuming--"human dignity in the face of inhuman cruelty" is not a theme; but once you examine the text, you should be able to clarify the point Night is trying to make.

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