Learning from Immorality

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Choices determine the outcome of life. Little decisions, from the size of the coffee in the morning, to big ones, like purchasing a new house, mold and shape one’s lifestyle. Equally important are the consequences, good or bad, of the actions and what one can learn from them. Maybe finding out that that extra large coffee is too big for the cup holder will persuade that particular person to opt for the medium one next time. The same foundation of cause and effect applies to much more serious actions. In other words, “A man's errors are his portals of discovery” (James Joyce Quotes). Immoral actions, whether they are crimes punishable by law or not, always have a silver lining. No matter how horrific it is, the deed offers the chance to learn from the outcome. It is entirely up to the person, however, to gain that knowledge and understanding and only a select few chose to do so. Although immoral actions most often lead to corruption and insanity, they sometimes pave the way for personal growth, sympathy, and helping others. The movie “Schindler’s List” exhibits one such tale of learning, with a man using his fortune to help save the very people he took advantage of to gain it. The movie takes place in Poland during the time of World War II. Oskar Shindler, a member of the Nazi Party, uses the relocation of Jews to his advantage by purchasing a manufacturing company at a deep discount and hiring Jews as the labor force. This not only advantageous for Shindler because their wages are low but also for the Jews as it grants them the chance to leave the ghetto. Soon the ghetto is to be liquidated and Oskar’s workers are to be sent to a forced labor camp. He bribes Göth, the SS officer in charge, into allowing him to build a sub-camp for his workers. At first, Oskar is just doing it for the money. As the movie progresses, however, a change can be seen in Oskar. He tries to save as many lives as possible with the help of Stern, a Jew accountant whose attention to bribes for the Nazis help Oskar’s actions go unnoticed. In one particular scene, Oskar convinces the guards to spray an outgoing train full of Jews with water pretending to be for amusement. His actual purpose is to give them some much needed water. Oskar’s growth as a human being and willingness to help the very Jews he took advantage of is revealed towards the end of the movie. An order comes down from the higher authorities ordering Göth to destroy all evidence of the Jews killed and sending the remaining ones to the dreaded concentration camp Auschwitz. Knowing that going to Auschwitz is a guaranteed death sentence, Oskar bribes Goth to let him take his workers back to his hometown in Czechoslovakia. Oskar uses his ill gotten fortune to pay a massive amount for each Jew. With the help of Stern, Oskar creates a list of over 800 Jews to be taken back, which coins the title “Schindler’s List”. At the factory in his hometown, Oskar treats his workers more humanely. He even lets them observe Sabbath once again. To keep them alive, he spends all of his fortune bribing German officials. Just as the money runs out, the war is about to end. Oskar must run now because he is a part of the Nazi party, but before he can go the Jews offer their gratitude by offering him a ring with the engraving “He who saves the life of one man, saves the world entire” (Spielberg). Overcome with emotion, Oskar breaks down in an especially memorable scene wishing he could’ve done more. With his redemption and his will to change, Oskar Shindler is able to save almost a thousand lives destined to die. Even though this story took place over 60 years ago, the development viewed in Oskar can still be found in the present day. Hester Prynne makes the most of her punishment of being a social outcast to give back to society in the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The novel takes place in the late 17th century in Boston. The town is largely Puritan, with firm...
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