In Schindler's List, what are some examples of how Schindler is confined to his own reality, and cannot understand Stern's reality or comprehend it? 

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

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Prior to Schindler's transformation, he viewed reality in terms of wealth.  It was the paradigm through which he viewed all human interactions.  It prevented him from understanding the reality of Nazi cruelty.

One example of how Schindler is confined to his own reality is evident in his desire to make money during the war. Schindler is not apologetic about his goals. He wishes to make money in the midst of intense human suffering. Schindler is a profiteer. He establishes a factory in Poland to turn a profit. The fact that he chooses Poland, a nation where brutality and horror during World War II was rampant, reflects how his approach solely concerned his desire to make money.

Schindler's initial desire for wealth reflects a self-indulgence that precludes him from embracing a wider world view.  His desire for women, liquor, and the "best things" reflect this. He spent his money on superficial items that promoted his own status and self-worth in the eyes of others. Clothes, cigars, and cars were extensions of his world view. Schindler perceived political allegiance and statements of social solidarity as "bad for business."

The world view that Schindler initially embraced enabled insulation from the reality of people like Stern, Pfefferberg, and Bankier. Their realities consist of a far different vision. Their lives consisted of cattle cars, suitcases of belongings left behind, one-way trains to Auschwitz.  Schindler's world view of wealth and material accumulation could not understand such a realty.  His blindness allowed him to be ignorant of what was happening to Jewish people and those declared Nazi "enemies."

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