Adversity In Night

Topics: Elie Wiesel / Pages: 4 (956 words) / Published: Aug 29th, 2016
Racing their way down the ramshackle streets of an all-American slum, two young boys hurry home. Next-door-neighbors on the seedy side of town, the two children share fears, sorrows, and joys. Yet while one boy will attend a prestigious medical school, his friend will join the gang down the street. In their diverging paths, these boys challenge common beliefs about adversity. One such belief belongs to Roman poet Horace. Says the philosopher, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.” In the case of the first boy, Horace’s assertion holds true, but his friend’s case reveals its falsehood. Adversity, then, is a fickle matter; one cannot predict whether an adverse experience will …show more content…
Even in the most horrifying circumstances, people make choices about how to behave. For example, in his memoir Night, Elie Wiesel faces countless choices as he endures the vilest adversity: genocide. For example, as his ailing father approaches his end, Elie may either abandon him or help him. For a moment Elie considers the former option, but he brushes the thought aside. In Night, Elie writes that “It [the thought] was only a fraction of a second, but it left me feeling guilty” (Wiesel 111). Atrocity attempts to persuade Elie to the dark of night, but he decides to stay in the light. Instead of giving in to his own animal need to survive, Elie exhibits elevated ethics and supports his father until his death. For this, Elie’s character develops. Elie realizes his strength, his perseverance, and his heart. However, it is not, as Horace asserts, the adversity in itself that summons these traits. To even suggest that the Holocaust might have produced something constructive is heinous. Rather, Elie makes a choice that rouses these talents of will from their slumber in his unconscious and draws them to the forefront of his mind. Adversity opens the door to character growth, and Elie elicits his own …show more content…
Literature provides a case in which people exploit the choices adversity presents. In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, characters make choices that lead them astray from human conscience. Bestial cruelty replaces the selflessness one expects from survivors. The characters in Lord of the Flies relinquish their humanity while, as Golding describes, “The world, that understandable and lawful world, [is] slipping away” (122). Still, the adversity itself is not to blame. Rather, the boys of Lord of the Flies make conscious decisions regarding their behavior. In making these choices, the characters allow adversity to amplify the barbarism lurking within humanity. Adversity itself is only as barbaric as those it

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