The Pianist

by Wladyslaw Szpilman

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Discuss Wladek's experiences in the ghetto in The Pianist.

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Wladek's life changes intensely with the move to the Ghetto.  His family and he are forced to live life in a reality that had not been seen before.  He and his brother, Henryk, are discharged with being the effective leaders of the family.  There is little real opportunity to rise up against the Nazis in the ghetto because everything is so intensely controlled and confined.  Wladek recognizes that there are fundamental problems with the situation and that while things are bad, it is for the best that he and his family remain together.  The elements of Nazi cruelty become to be more of a reality for Szpilman and his family, at one point seeing a Nazi throw out a window a man in a wheelchair.  Life in the ghetto for the family increases in pain and difficulty, trying to increase the chance for survival in a setting where there is not much in way of chance for it.  It is through this experience where he and the family move to the point where they are being taken to a death camp, when at the last moment, he is pulled off it by a friend who recognizes him.  It is here where he will live and the rest of family ends up perishing.  The life of solitary being becomes the only companion for Wladek whose last memory of his family was the life in the ghetto.

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