The persecution or unfair treatment of a race can have major affects on people of that nationality. It is almost as if they are experiencing it themselves. It can be very hard for someone outside of this race to understand these people’s feelings. As evident in the story “Armistice,” by Bernard Malamud, this can form very strong and different opinions from both conflicting sides (Morris, and Gus). Morris, being a Jewish man, has very conflicting perspectives than that of his acquaintance Gus (a man who sells meat for Morris’ business, also an American) concerning the occurrences and progress of WWII. The punishing crusades of the Nazi’s on the Jewish people aroused many old and new emotions from Morris, which are insensitively exploited and deepened by Gus. Although neither of the two never actually experiences these incidences, it still heavily influences them both.
Many parallels may be drawn between the war and the tension between Gus and Morris. One connection that may be drawn is the similarity between Nazi and Gus; and also between Morris and France. Just as Germany, Gus only sees the power and the “greatness” behind the objectives of the Nazi’s; whereas Morris sees that the consequences of this power are not worth it and that it should be stopped. As Gus marvels at this great power of the Nazi’s, Morris sees the sense in France’s retaliation. He feels the suffering of the people (because of his race) and wants it to stop whereas Gus regards it as forfeitable. This is a big difference in opinion and causes the main conflict between Gus and Morris.
Another correspondence that can be identified is the relations between them. Just as the Nazi’s had warned the French of losing everything (by losing their land), Gus reminds Morris of losing everything also. Again we see that far-reaching strength that “power” holds. Lastly, the Armistice is symbolic of both conflicts. The “temporary treaty” really doesn’t solve anything in either conflict. Morris and Gus’ Armistice left them both with no different feelings, just as the treaty between France and Germany solved nothing. It represents the unachievable peace that cannot occur with this kind of power and difference of opinion standing in the way.
Anti-Semitism and unfair treatment like this are existent even in today’s society. This writer believes that there is still probably much of this in the United States. Although over the years we have grown more intelligent, etc.; power, sovereignty and superiority still have the same effect on us as it did to the people during WWII. Even though our nation is founded on non-prejudice and free morals, power and etc.; can manipulate people, transforming them. Proof of these lies in the organization of people. People have formed racial “groups,” etc. Our nation can be as bad as the Nazi’s with the wrong “powerful” influence.
This example of anti-Semitism is disheartening to observe and learn about. People having to suffer due to other’s differences and “power trips.” The most saddening aspect of all of this is that this problem will probably never be totally rid of. The conflict between the two men (Gus and Morris) was never solved, only put on hold, just like the problem in the war. An Armistice is not a solution, it is a temporary storage.