The Lack of Human Connection in the Memoir Survival in Auschwitz
In the memoir Survival in Auschwitz: If This Is a Man, written by Primo Levi he explicitly expresses his hardships, wants, and his survival of being held in a concentration camp. Levi dreams of his arrival back home, he wishes to be reunited by his family’s side. Home is not just a place of shelter, it is much more than that. A home to Levi is a vision of his family being welcoming with arms wide open and in utter shock of his survival. This is a team of support, a home with a physical presence of excitement. Levi lacks and craves physical and emotional interaction. He hopes it is obtained through the forms of hearing his story with an emotional and physical reaction; such has a hug or being able to have a shoulder to cry on. Home is where Levi will finally be able to be himself, in the form of self-expression once again. A place where his stories will be heard and reacted to. Levi’s ultimate goal is to prove to them he’s alive and survived in the hope of finding his home once again. His survival is through the hope of reconnection to family, and his dreams are the escape of his horrible reality; Auschwitz being his terminal home. The reason Levi dreams of the home is for his self-reassurance there is such thing as home, thus providing hope to survive. Because he is not what he claims to be, a speck of nothing. He is an existing human being.
Levi’s complications in regard to his vanishing home prevailed its establishment with an enormous tragedy of being captured by Nazis. “All countries in which a foreign people have set foot as invaders, an analogous position of rivalry and hatred among the subjected has been brought about”. In clarity, Levi is signifying the inaccurate judgment from others about himself and those of similar assets, such as being Jewish. Levi is out of his place in from of comfort and a home, and because he is an invader to a country for being doing something wrong, he has to deal with the consequences given in that time area. In which were totally absorbed, but taken place to create a safe zone for those who felt threatened by others who claimed to be different.
Long excruciating days at the camp caused Levi such physical pain to his body and embellished into his mind. Due to the living slave work conditions, Levi’s body could not prolong such tolerance. Thus, causing a lack of motivation to push through. His body was finished with the corresponding treatment. Levi’s last bit of motivation was his inner hope. The last bit of hope he held onto of returning home. His personal thought of the accomplishment of living was through his eyes of hope. Hope kept Levi on his two feet, strutting towards survival. He had the hope linger in the back of his mind of his return home, he was waiting for the day to do so. In the environmental situation, Levi was in, what they called the worst was over once the winter season changed into spring. He continues his hope on the thought of everything being okay from then on.
The title of chapter seven A Good Day delivers its explanation of what the chapter withholds its purpose. The prisoners have survived through their purpose, “today, in this place, our only purpose is to reach the spring. At the moment we care about nothing else… Today the sun rose bright and clear for the first time from the horizon of the mud”. This metaphoric quotation could be looked as a reminder of living, and being alive. The sun rose in their honor, as an accomplishment of welcoming of spring. And the sign of hope, that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. In this case, they are reminded they are not completely dead. If they pushed, they could get the dream of their lives. To return home. To feel the warmth of others, and to finally feel connected. Healing the pain of torment, in the home, they have craved to go to.
Levis is suffering, just as everyone else in the camp. The closest he can get to his family is through his dreams (or nightmares) and even then it is hard to obtain the attention wanted and needed from them. In comparison to Levi to others in the world, everyone suffers and struggles. The difference is we have connections with people, our family to express ourselves. Or feelings and worries, we hold the necessity of moving on in life. In the camp, Levi has no social interaction connections. His dreams reflect his fear, which is not to have listeners. Advice to hear his stories of survival once he goes back home. He describes the dreams as a connection through the prisoners because it what they share, “ I cannot help noticing that my listeners do not follow me. In fact, they are completely indifferent: they speak confusedly of other things among themselves as if I was not there. My sister looks at me, gets up, and goes away without a word”. Even in the peaceful state of sleep Levi his dream, he feels alone, thus turning this dream into a nightmare of his fear. His Nightmare could also possibly be interrupted that his family knows of him, and remember him through the eye his sister looked at him and walked away. Yet, Levi may be looked as gone/ dead. They have no clue of his struggle for survival, and that is the message he wants to give out to them all. He is alive. Struggling, yet surviving.
Walker states in the conclusion of her journey she was “Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength search of my mother’s garden, I found my own”. She achieved in her goal, self-realization. An eye-opening moment to ensure herself of all the value she is worth. As lost as she was,
Without human connection, we are lost. That was the main issue with Levi, was the lack of human connection. Especially with his family, he didn’t find a place at camp where he felt closely connected. There was individuals whom showed him kind gestures, which made him believe there is still kindness in a world of cruelty. Yet, he couldn’t have a way to connect. He had a barrier, I feel as if he was scared to make that connection because he didn’t want the connection to be gone the next day. Everyone’s future was most definitely unsure in the camps. You could sleep one day, but not be able to open your eyes the next. Levi’s life was already taken, he didn’t need another valuable item of his to be stolen again. In difficult times, we crave the connection even more. We need to be able to express ourselves, it a healthy way to do so. If not, the bad stays within us and it just consumes us. In the following quote, “Part of our existence lays in the feelings of those near us.” This is true in the example of being able to observe others’ emotions, it radiates and affects us. Especially if we have a connectional band within each other we give a take. If one is sad, we are also so sad. We take the action to try to cheer the individual up, and when doing so it makes us feel good about ourselves. Levi did not have that, until the end. He was helping those out in need in medical terms. He did what he could, and that made him realize that connection with one another is a necessity in life.
As hope continued to remain in Levi’s consciousness, he survived his hardships. Proving his existence of life. With his existence, he was able to attain his purpose. Life was not easy for him. Bad days he had, but his motivation never vanished. His motivation of hope aided in his survival, to make clear of his obstacles of life. The nightmare of not being heard was not going to become his reality. With the understanding of the importance of human connection, Levi accomplished his ultimate goal of existing to his family, and to all the generations ahead.
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