Night/Worms from Our Skin: Literary Analysis Essay – Dehumanization Hunger. Terror. Despair. Flames. Death. These are just a few things men and women saw during the time at Auschwitz, Gleiwitz, and Buchenwald. Separated from their family members, these people felt many hardships. In this essay, I will evaluate how men and women that were dehumanized had the will to survive despite starvation, physical labor and fear of separation. Night is essentially Elie Wiesel’s memoir about his experiences in the Holocaust while Worms from Our Skin tells about Mam’s excruciating experiences on Khmer Rouge.
Both Wiesel and Mam faced starvation during dies of desperation. “Bread, soup – these were my whole life. I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time.” (Wiesel 50). Wiesel only really has a strong sense of starvation throughout the book. How is it possible for one to turn on his own father, to murder him like he never knew him before? In the book Night, Wiesel states that of a son killing his father so he could eat a piece of bread which his father had saved. Every time that Elie thinks he and the prisoners have suffered as much pain as they can bear and have behaved as cruelly as possible to one another, the Nazis lead them to behave even more basely and without human respect. People eat the snow off the people’s backs as stated by Elie in the book. People were so desperate for food that they didn’t know what else to eat. In Mam’s perspective, Chamroeun a mother of three children couldn’t feed them. In the end, all three children died because of starvation.
Separation of families was a strong and leading cause of unforgiveness during the Holocaust and Khmer Rouge. Mam stated that little children were taking out of homes so that the Khmer Rouge could indoctrinate them. Stein, the niece of Eliezer’s mother finds Eliezer and his father at Auschwitz and is desperate to hear news of his family. Eliezer lies and tells him his family is doing fine, which keeps him alive for awhile. Stein is very shocked of the separation of his family and he only keeps living for his family. In the selection after they arrive in Gleiwitz, Elie and his father was almost separated but Elie causing confusion allows him and his father not to get separated and move on not going to the crematorium.
“I was putting one foot in front of the other, like a machine. I was dragging this emancipated body that was still such a weight. If only I could have shed it! Though I tried to put it out of my mind, I couldn’t help thinking that there were two of us: my body and I. And I hated that body.” (Wiesel 85). Elie stated this because of the physical labor he had to go through. Groups had to run through the heavy snow for twenty kilometers with no rest and if you could not run they shot you to your death. Also Elie had to lift heavy stones of slab in order to survive. As quoted by the gate at Auschwitz “Work will make you free”. (Wiesel 40). In Worms from Our Skin, Mam had to work fifteen hours a day in order to survive and also had to walk several kilometers in order to reach the fields they worked.
Elie Wiesel exemplied dehumanization of the many Jewish prisoners in Night. He showed the readers a personal view of the Nazi’s treatment to the prisoners. They lost their possessions, family, morality and their identity. They also had to face starvation, labor and separation. In Mam’s perspective, she had to face the consequences of losing her father and facing excruciating physical labor. Succinctly, Hitler, Khmer Rouge and the Nazis dehumanized and inhumanely tortured the Jews and innocent people.