Ashes.

auschwitz-birkenau-2

 “’And why do you pray?’ I asked him. ‘I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.’”

“I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it.”

“We were the only men on earth.”

“Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness?” 

“Never shall I forget that night,

the first night

[…] that smoke

[…] the small faces

[…] those flames

[…] the nocturnal silence

[…] those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.”

“Never.”

 

“The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.”

“And I, the former mystic, was thinking: Yes, man is stronger, greater than God.”

“Every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.” 

“Action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all.” 

This series of quotes is almost like a timeline depicting the evolution of Wiesel’s/Eliezer’s mindset from the time before the Holocaust to the time after. Before his imprisonment, Eliezer wholeheartedly believed in God and religion. But the time and effort he spent in his early days of the Holocaust were soon realized to have been wasted trying to reach the divine powers in order to pray for relief. It seems as if Eliezer’s abandonment of faith was caused by God’s lack of response to his cries. He became indifferent to the rest of the world, even feeling scorn against his father.

Night was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it to everyone.

 

MetriDee

Forlorn War Veterans and Restaurant Etiquette

After finishing the book All Quiet on the Western Front, only then did I realize that soldiers who survived the war truly were scarred for life. Unlike other stories of the war, All Quiet really hits you with the reality and horrors of the front line, life in the trenches, and watching everyone around you drop like flies. In the middle of the novel, the protagonist, Paul, goes home for a seventeen-day leave. As he encounters people and memories from his life before the war, he became aware of the fact that no one back home really understood what having the life of a soldier really meant. Despite the enticement of glory and the insistent persuasion of Paul’s schoolmaster, willingly fighting for the war didn’t entitle any of the things people promised. There was no glory, only gore. There was neither victory nor spirit, only misery and death. Back at home, Paul’s father wanted him to keep his uniform on so he can be shown off to his father’s friends. What Paul’s father didn’t understand was that the war was brutal and cruel. He did not realize that his son was now a different person, hardened by the barbarity of fighting and numbed by the deaths of his comrades. As a result, being surrounded again with civilians of the likes of his father, Paul was faced with the challenge of how to  fit in again and interact with others on a different level than his fellow soldiers out in the front (line).

As with any environment, people have to be able to adapt to their surroundings and act properly (according to the standards of society). That is where etiquette comes in. Like Paul’s rehabilitation as a war veteran to a member of society, there are unspoken rules that have to be abided by in restaurants. Theoretically, let’s say we have Bill, a man who has never interacted much with people besides his family and has never stepped foot inside a restaurant. Bill will not realize that his open-mouthed chewing and boisterous laugh does not belong in such a public place. As Bill is surveying his menu, how will he properly flag down a waiter to put down his order? Will he wave his hand in the air like an overly-eager student or stare down a waiter and motion with his index finger to come to his table? After Bill’s plate of spaghetti arrives, how will he choose to eat it? With chopsticks or a fork? Spoon or no spoon? To twirl or not to twirl? As Bill eats, he is greeted by a waiter who checks up on how he is doing. “Is everything okay, sir?”, the waiter asks. Bill doesn’t realize that the waiter isn’t referring to his life, but merely his food. Oblivious to the shallowness of the question, Bill pats the seat next to him and tells the waiter to sit down. With a mouthful of pasta, Bill begins to tell the uncomfortable-looking waiter the problems he is having with his colon and how he has trouble sleeping at night because of his cat’s incessant snoring. After a while, Bill asks what’s the matter with the waiter. “Are you alright there, pal?” Finally, Bill receives the check for his meal. Now, how shall he go about paying the fourteen dollars and seventy-eight cents when he only has a twenty-dollar bill in his pocket? Bill shrugs and tears off a fifth of his twenty-dollar bill and inserts it into the black book.

Clearly, this demonstration with “Bill” was exaggerated, but it does help to clearly show the little things that people have to deal with as they decide on what proper etiquette is and what is not. It ties in with the behavioral issues some shell-shocked war veterans have with day-to-day interactions most people don’t even bother to think about. We all have our little eccentricities and confusions about what society thinks is best and what is unacceptable. What’s your quirk?

MetriDee

Writing about Words

It’s the universal struggle: trying to get thoughts and dreams from the old noggin into words on a sheet of paper. Why does it have to be so difficult? Sometimes, words can’t even explain how one truly feels. Sadness. Hurt. Depression. Excitement. Utter happiness. These emotions can be portrayed through words, but only to a certain extent.
Yet…. The power of words shouldn’t be underestimated. There’s a famous quote that says, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” When used correctly, words can bring a memorable picture to one’s mind. They can be extremely powerful. Words can take a person into a whole other universe altogether; to a different place, to a different time.  It’s not odd to see people so immersed while reading a good book that they forget everything around them.  Words can pierce straight into one’s heart, triggering hidden emotions. My eyes grow red and begin to water when I reach a sad part of a story. I laugh and smile like mad during happy parts. My parents probably think I’m crazy. But I really can’t help it.
Feels
So I guess words are what you make them out to be. They can be so unbearably boring, but they can also bring someone to the point of tears. Just like everything else, it’s all about perspective. Everyone sees things in a different light, that’s what makes everyone so special.
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Cinnamon Roll.