4 December 2012
Final Essay- Draft # 1
The Secret in the Texts
We all have our secrets- secrets we wish to keep to ourselves and no one else. Sometimes, these secrets are motivated by dark thoughts and hatreds for others. The hatred grows and festers until it swallows us, making it almost impossible to return to our natural normal state. The same idea goes for pain. What is pain really? Sometimes pain is extreme that we get used to it. The feeling of pain grows and dominates our bodies that we cannot imagine our bodies without pain. At that point, you cannot tell the difference because you are unsure if you are really feeling pain. These two examples have a common underlying theme- Losing control over our own souls and ideas as a result of something dominating our lives. In the essays, “Our Secrets” and “The Pain Scale”, both Susan Griffin and Eula Bliss use hybrids of memoirs, stories and examples to illustrate the dominance of secrets and pain in ways that they affect us. However, this theme doesn’t only apply to our secrets and pains, but the way in which our education system works and the expectations that society limits us with.
Childhood memories are an essential component where most things are learned and practiced. In Griffin’s essay, Heinrich Himmler, a violent cruel leader, grew up to command Nazi rocketry and became the key architect of Jewish genocide. Griffin explores the life of Heinrich Himmler. Throughout his childhood, Himmler’s secrets and thoughts were hidden and overshadowed by a mask or a barrier formed by his upbringing and culture. His father, Gebhard, was a school master who controlled every single aspect of his son’s life. At a young age, Himmler was asked to keep a journal, but it was no ordinary journal. His father controlled the way he wrote in his diary “like the words of a schoolboy commanded to write what the teacher requires of him” (Griffin 339). Furthermore, Himmler was affected with influenza when he was younger, and so he never fit in with his friends at school. Growing up, he wished to become a soldier, but it never worked out since he was never masculine enough to fight in any of the wars. But how do these bits and pieces of Himmler’s childhood create an image of him being a cruel leader in the Jewish Genocide? According to Griffin, the soul is an integral part of the child’s whole being, and “and its growth is this part of the child’s growth” (342). Thus, if the soul in its “small beginnings” is forced to take a secret life, the boy learns to hide his emotions and his thoughts from his father because he is unable to record them into his journal. They become secrets, secrets that are based on fear and guilt. As his father continues to slowly control the friends and classmates he is allowed to make, along with everything else in his life, the rage and emotions begin to grow in him making it harder to return to the person whom he thought he was. With all the incidents in Himmler’s life, there must come a time where he begins to define himself and chose an image for which he really is, but to most, there is an existence of an inner and outer world. We wear masks that only show our outward appearances. Himmler erases his earliest memories and replaces it with the image of that he has constructed according to his father and the bidding of others. By doing this, his secrets have now dominated his life; he wishes to become something he knows he can never be. As time passed by, and the Holocaust began, Himmler captures men, women and children and slowly kills them and tortures them. Why did he kill and torture so many people. Could he have seen in these prisoners whom he forced into hiding and suffering an image of his own consciousness? “It is only now that I begin to see he has become part of them. Those whose fate he sealed. Heinrich Himmler. A part of Jewish History” (Griffin 369). Heinrich Himmler saw those of whom he...