What circumstances in the memoir allow for the darker side of human nature to emerge?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the circumstances in the memoir that allows for the darker side of human nature to emerge is how the bonds between individuals are shown to dissipate in the name of survival.  This is seen throughout the narrative, where children, such as Madame Schachter's child, do nothing when their parents are being abused so as to make their lives easier.  When the boy on the train steals bread from his father so he can eat, only to see his father beaten to death, it is an example of how the darker side of human nature emerges in the memoir.  This is also seen in Eliezer's narrative, as he backs away from helping his father so as to ensure his own survival.  Eliezer's father continues to call out to him at the very end, but Eliezer remains silent, hoping his father will become silent, even if it means his death.  The memoir does not seek to glorify Eliezer, as it presents a realistic and brutal approach to how the Holocaust's horror was to sever the bonds that exist between individuals.  In doing so, it reveals a darker side of human nature.

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