The Last Night
At the beginning of the passage it is instantaneously established that the circumstances in which the two brothers, Andre and Jacob, are currently residing in are appalling. These would be the same conditions that most of the Jewish people would have been residing in prior to being taken to concentration camps. We are aware that the conditions are poor as Faulks tells us that ‘Andre was lying on the floor’ which implies that he has nowhere else to sleep, it also shows how exhausted he must have been as young boys would not normally be resting. We are also informed at the start of the passage that the boys are French-Jewish, by their names. As Andre lies on the floor a Jewish orderly comes round with postcards on which the deportees can write their final message. This shows us that a percentage of the Jewish people were collaborating with the Nazis, although the Jewish orderly would have been lower than the Germans they still had a sense of responsibility. This could have looked like a betrayal from the view of the rest of the Jewish people. Furthermore, even though the Jewish orderly has joined forces with the Nazis he is still sneaking postcards for the Jewish people to write their final messages on. This portrays a sense of loyalty from the Jewish orderly. Here Faulks calls the Jewish people ‘deportees’ which reminds us, after a pleasant picture of the Jewish orderly’s loyalty, that they are being deported by force. Following on from this we are told that they are to write their final messages on the postcards which again enables us to reminisce on the circumstances. Faulks does this by using the word ‘final’. This emphasises that this potentially could be the last thing that the Jewish people ever write which truly illustrates to us the reality of the situation. The ‘final message’ could also allude to Hitler’s final solution which would portray how the Jewish people were regarded and consequently the terrifying experience that they had to go through. However, the Jewish orderly does not take the postcards to send but instructs the Jewish people to ‘throw them from the train as camp orders forbade access to the post’. This not only shows us the collaboration from the Jewish orderly, as he would not help them any further. The Jewish people were told to throw their postcards from the train, this implies that they would throw the postcards from the train with the hope that a French person would find it and send it on. This reminds us that, although the French person may have sent the postcard on, there was still a great amount more of French people in France at that time rather than Germans. This shows us that the French people have subconsciously, or some consciously, collaborated with the Germans. Faulks then uses the same technique that he used earlier in the passage by creating a pleasant image for the reader followed by a glimpse of reality. He does this here by constructing a pleasing image of the Jewish people’s final messages being found and sent on to then remind the reader that they are in fact on their way to a death camp. As the Jewish people write their final messages we are informed that there are two or three pencils being passed around, pencils that had survived the barracks search. Yet again this gives us an idea about the type of environment that the brothers are in as Parisian buses can hold around four hundred people yet there are only two to three pencils. The fact that they are not even allowed to have pencils portrays how the Jewish people were treated. During this Faulks includes that the Jewish people had been through the barracks search which once more reminds us of their inevitable futures. How the Jewish people react while writing their postcards are really conveys their experience as ‘some wrote with sobbing passion, some with punctilious care’. The reader is immediately drawn to this as Faulks has used plosives within the sentence. This phrase shows us how people react...
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