Identify a theme in the film, Schindler's List.

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

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There are many themes from which one can choose.  I would think that one of the most powerful themes of the film lies in how individuals have the power to take action, even in the most dire of circumstances.  One of the most enlightening perspectives that Spielberg and writer Steven Zallian take in the film is to display the Holocaust in all of its brutality, but do so in a manner that shows that individuals do have power.  Schindler could have certainly turned a deaf ear and blind eye to what was happening.  One could make the argument that Schindler, himself, could not solely stop the Nazis and stop the "Final Solution."  Yet, Schindler's actions, while only rescuing barely 1100 people, speak so eloquently to how individuals possess autonomy and the moral and ethical obligation to act upon it.  In affirming the power of the individual, the film does a wonderful job showing how human beings can change and can represent "the better angels" in consciousness.  While there is much to the Holocaust that is so intricate and philosophically profound, the film does highlight the theme of human freedom and opens the door to more discussion and questioning, which lies at the essence of any great work.  To be able to present this theme in a manner that is authentic and not didactic is one of the reasons why this film is so very powerful.

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