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A Place of Glory

Essay by   •  April 21, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,108 Words (9 Pages)  •  2,914 Views

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1. According to Lynn Sherr the words over the Auschwitz gates are cynical because they mock the injustice and horror that actually occurred there. The Germans sardonically placed those words there to tell new comers that your freedom has been stripped and your only way out is to do what your told. My visit to Auschwitz this year and the powerful words of Lynn Sherr have led me to agree. As a prisoners step through the gates they know the only true freedom left is death.

2. Before and during the war, Hitler's charisma and political status hypnotized most of Germany and other neighboring countries to help him fulfill his inhumane political agenda. Many Germans began to consider killing Jews as an act of their civil duty. To this day, the Holocaust stands as the shame of Germany. It is possible that as the German children volunteer at the museum they feel the shame of Germany weighing heavily on their shoulders. Moreover, working to preserve a place of death and misery is extremely difficult, it takes an incredible amount of strength to not want to run away from the intense evidence of how cruel human is nature is capable of being.

3. Lynn Sherr wrote this piece as a tribute to the lives that have been lost in the Holocaust and to teach the world that they have an obligation to preserve its history. Sherr best supports this purpose through the words of Krystyna Olesky, the deputy director of Auschwitz, "But history teaches us. The maintenance of historical knowledge is our obligation."

4. Sherr describes Auschwitz as a place filled with pain and melancholy, a place where people come to mourn. The ashes of those once tormented still fill the rich soil of the camp. Tourists walk through the camp in silence digesting the horror of the atrocities that occurred there. The deplorable evidence places the visitor in the past and allows them to envision the camp when it was functional; the visitor begins to hear the screams of a generation dying. Lynn Sherr title, "Anguished Cries in a Place of Silence" emphasizes the somber atmosphere in Auschwitz and is very fitting for this piece.

5. There are many contrasting passages in this essay. For example, Sherr notes how although it was a beautiful warm August day, her blood ran cold as they passed the railroads. Sherr found Auschwitz's natural scenery to be deceptively tranquil and beautiful. She testifies the beauty making the reader realize that the world is moving on; it is our responsibility to dig the bones out from under the lush green grass and make sure it's body is not forgotten. When describing the grotesque details of the prisoners living conditions she mentions that these prisoners were the lucky ones who were allowed to exist. Such contrasts support her purpose for writing this piece by forcing the reader to endure the same shock she had when walking through the camp grounds.

Considering Techniques

1. In this piece, the factual details are so moving that the authors added emotion are not even necessarily needed. Holocaust facts need no persuasive emotion to convince a reader of its harsh nature, all one needs is the factual truth. The facts themselves hold a wide array of emotion.

2. One example of concrete sensory detail in this essay is when the author describes the silence all around her while she and hundreds of other people digested the vastness and its menacing scenery. Another example such detail is Sherr's description of her experiences going from building to building, "...deceptively tranquil roads of the camp on this gloriously sunny day, I recognized the incongruities. The lawn was too lush and it was peaceful."

3. Noun- "... transported directly into the footsteps of those who had once shuffled into Auschwitz with no hope of leaving alive.

Verb- " In reality, each held up to 2,000, crammed so tight on concrete floors..."

Modifier- " This was where the lucky ones lived or rather existed..."

4. In paragraph 16 the simile, "...people were stacked like goods in a warehouse." helps the reader visualize the description in a more familiar and tangible manner. Furthermore, it provides the reader with an understanding of how much they de-humanized the prisoners. Another form of figurative language is the metaphor used in the sentence, "...this is where the men, or women, lay staring out at their rescuers, human cordwood, too feeble to move." This literary device also helps the reader visualize how emaciated these people were. Comparing people to cordwood is can have a chilling effect on almost anyone, leaving the reader unable to shove the shocking image from their mind.

5. Lynn Sherr allows the detail in this piece to progress at the same pace as the experiences she is describing. This progression through Auschwitz arranges the details in chronological order, helping the reader experience to experience Sherr's thought process through the entire piece, beginning under the cynical words, " Arbeit Macht Frei."

"Where Nothing Says Everything"

Considering Ideas

1. We are a curious people. When tragedy strikes, we gravitate to any piece of media that will provide us with enough detail to understand what is happening and help us visualize the scene. Although nothing stands where the World Trade Center once was people from all over the world gravitate to the site that made the history books, in order to try and understand what happened on that fateful day. In addition, the grounds of the World Trade Center, for some, is the last place they can feel connected to loved ones. Some may stare at the Hudson and the streets of Manhattan wondering if it was the last thing their loved one saw.

2. The brisk trade in World Trade Center booklets supports Berne's belief that much like himself, everyone around Ground Zero is trying to visualize what once was.

3. The light reflecting off the Hudson River onto Ground Zero lines the site and enhances its grand emptiness. The streets of Manhattan are usually shaded by the enormous skyscrapers. The empty grounds allow light to fill its void and causes the barrenness to take form.

4. Berne's title, "Where Nothing Says Everything" is very appropriate for this essay because it summarizes the exact impression he is trying to convey. Although Ground Zero can be defined as site filled with nothing, Berne explains that seeing this daunting site provides some closure to its visitors and answers some questions which they might have. A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case the empty scenery says everything.




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