How does Frankl's wife give his life meaning?

In A Man's Search for Meaning, Frankl's wife gives his life meaning in his goal of being reunited with her. While he is in the concentration camp, he is sustained by thinking about her and talking to her in his mind.

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The whole time he is at Auschwitz, Frankl thinks about his beloved wife. He writes that

nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved.

His hope of seeing and being with her again helps to give Frankl hope and purpose while he is enduring the cruelty, suffering, and brutality of the camp. Frankl makes the point in the book that what keeps people alive and happy is a sense of purpose in life. He argues that it is not, as Alfred Alder asserted, a "will to power," or as Freud asserted, a "will to pleasure," that drives humans but a "will to meaning."

Frankl finds a reason to stay alive through having the goal of being reunited with his wife. At the same time, while at the camp, thoughts of her sustain him every day. He feels her presence, and he talks to her in his mind. Even though she is not there, she offers him love and companionship.

Frankl later finds out that she died in the camp of Bergen-Belsen, so they never had any hope of being reunited. However, Frankl's sense of a spiritual bond with his wife and the hope of seeing her, even if false, kept him going, helped him survive.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 17, 2021
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