November 25, 2012
Keeping Hope and Faith
In Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl writes of his experiences in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Frankl tells his story by including vivid details of the camp itself, the other prisoners, and the guards. Not only does he write of the physical aspects, but of all the mental battles that went on inside of his and other prisoner’s minds. Optimism, hope, and strong religion are some reoccurring themes throughout Frankl’s book. These same themes were discussed thoroughly and frequently in class as they are in most philosophy classes. Frankl believed that if a prisoner gave up hope in the concentration camp then that prisoner would not survive. Cigarettes were a reward to the prisoners for doing various jobs around the camps. The cigarettes were traded for more food so the prisoners knew that “when [they] saw a comrade smoking his own cigarettes, [they] knew he had given up faith in his strength the carry on… (Frankl 21-22). Frankl noticed that once someone had given up his will to live, then those people hardly ever regained that will. When Frankl and the other prisoners were arriving by train to the concentration camp, many of them were relieved that they were not going to Auschwitz. When the prisoners finally reached their camp, they got “the illusion that [they] might reprieved at the very last moment,” meaning that they might be spared from the awful things that were to happen in the future (Frankl 23). In the beginning of their experiences in the concentration camp, the prisoners, including Frankl, lived and survived, hoping to be
Sandoval 2 reprieved at any time. This idea of being reprieved helped the prisoners believe that things would not be so bad, and that they all would survive and live when the war was all over. After living in the horrible conditions for a while, almost all the prisoners “thought of suicide…if only for a
Cited: Frankl, Viktor. Man 's Search for Meaning. 4th. Cutchogue: Buccaneer Books, 1992. 7-154. Print.