Conformity Essay

From things as simply as driving on the right side of the road, to as in-depth as our educational system and economy, conformity is present in a multitude of aspects of our everyday lives.  Although quite often conformity is required in order for a society to be successful, it must also be challenged on occasions where our individuality and ability to express our own thoughts is endangered.

It’s our educational system that has been created in order to bring us into a future that we can’t grasp. We are being educated as if the world is going to stay the same and are unprepared for the large changes and unpredictability that the future surely has in store.  It’s in our educational system where mistakes are stigmatized; they are essentially the worst thing you can make. Is it not from making mistakes, and being wrong that originality is created? It is the educational system that is essentially educating us out of our individuality. In nearly every public educational system there’s a hierarchy of subjects, which includes what we deem essential at the top such as mathematics while other subjects, such as the arts are deemed less useful. This is due to the fact that the educational system was invented in the nineteen hundreds in order to meet the needs and economic circumstances of the industrial revolution, and the simple fact that it was academics that brought on success, and you wouldn’t get a job, or a successful one for that matter, doing arts. We are being conformed into believing that intelligence is based off how well you do in the more “important” subjects, when in reality why shouldn’t arts be important? Why aren’t they taught as much as things such as math or literature. We truly need to rethink the fundamental principles on which students are being educated on.

As a society we worship economic growth and consumer consumption as being the basis of our economy. We have been conformed by the governmental policies into thinking that economic recessions are negative, and when they are present the population panics. In reality, after looking deeper it into this topic, it could quite possible just be the opposite. Our current economic model is based around continuous growth, and clearly, continuous growth is unsustainable. During a recession people are pushed to work smarter and harder, which in return forces us to use our creativity. This helps in the growth of our individuality and actually leads to better productivity and more breakthroughs.  We cannot continue to increase our populations, and continue to utilise all the worlds’ resources to an extent that is surely going to have consequences just as we must not rely on economic growth for a successful society.

The human imagination is extraordinary, and we truly need to view our creative capacities for the richness that they are. Although conformity is essential in order to prevent chaos, we must not be led into a system of total conformity, limiting our individualism and jeopardizing our future. Just as we need to rethink the way we educate our population, we must also rethink our economic models and principals.

Night Questions and Answers

Night

By Elie Wiesel

Questions and Answers

Chapter 1

1) Question: Describe Moshe the Beadle.

Answer: Moshe the Beadle is a caretaker of a synagogue in Sighet. He was Elie Wiesel’s teacher of Jewish mysticism. He was poor and livd in utter penury. Physically, he was as awkward as a clown, yet his waiflike shyness made people smile. He also had wide, dreamy eyes.

2) Question: Describe Eli Wiesel’s father. What was his occupation?

Answer: His father was a cultured man, he was rather unsentimental. He rarely displayed his feelings, not even with his family. He was more involved with the welfare of others than with that of his own kin.

3) Question: Why was Moshe the beadle important to Eli Wiesel?

Answer: He was important because he was like a role model to Eli. He was always doing and studying interesting religious things.

4) Question: How did Wiesel say he felt about the Hungarian Police?

Answer: Wiesel said he felt hatred towards the Hungarian Police.

5) Question: Who was Martha? What happened when she visited the Wiesel family in the ghetto?

Answer: Martha was a servant and when she visited the Wiesel family in the ghetto. She offered to hide them but the Wiesel family refused to hide.

6) Question: What was the setting and the year for the first section of the book? What was the world condition at the time?

Answer: The setting takes place in a small town in Transylvania called Sighet where a lot of Jews lived. The year was 1941. During that year, the Germans were taking over and the start of World War Two began.

7) What are some incidents that suggest or foreshadow the coming danger to the Sighet Jews? Why doesn’t the community believe it is a danger?

Answer: The one incident that occurs in the first section of Night is when the Hungarian takes all foreign Jews away including the narrator’s friend, Moishe the Beadle. After a bit, the Jews of Sighet eventually forget about the anti-Semitic expelling. Even after Moishe returns and tells the story of what happened in the camps he was sent to, the town judges him as a lunatic and ignores his tales. 1944 rolls around and Hungary has been taken over by Germany. The Jews of Sighet think that the anti-Semitic acts won’t reach their capital of Budapest but still, the Germans invade. Finally, they believe the foreshadowing danger.

8) Question: What are the conditions on the Jews’ train journey? How do the Jews react to Madame Schachter’s behavior? What does this reveal about human nature?

Answer: The cattle cars where jam packed, laying down was not an option, not even sitting. There was also very little air, the luckiest ones found themselves near a window. It was extremely hot in the train, and everyone was very thirsty. At first, when Madame Schachter began screaming they said she was mad, and made an attempt to calm her down. When calming her down did not succeed, a few young men forced her to sit down and then bound and gagged her. After that once she escaped, she received several blows to the head. Finally, they just decided to give up on her. This reveals that human nature is violence. When their very few attempts at getting her quiet without violence failed, they automatically resorted to using it.

9) Question: Even though it was 1944, and the Nazi extermination of the Jews had begun years earlier, the Sighet Jews had very few facts about it. Do you think it is possible in today’s world for a community to know so little, to be so unprepared? Explain.

Answer: No I don’t think it would go so unnoticed because with the technology and the improved knowledge we have, I bet we would have bee able to find out about something like this in a matter of days.

Chapter 2

1)      Question: To what did Wiesel compare the world?

Answer: ‘The world had become a hermetically sealed cattle car.’ The narrator dictates. To the Jews in the cattle car, the world was no bigger than the small transportation vehicle they were locked in.

2)      Question: What did Madame Schachter see in her vision?

Answer: Madame Schachter saw fire and flames in her vision.

3)      Question: How did the other people in the car react to Madame Schachter?

Answer: Everyone in the train was getting annoyed and exasperated with Madame Schachter. They began to hate her, because she kept screaming about her vision of flames which nobody could see.

4)      Question: Where did the train stop?

Answer: Through the windows the Jews see chimneys attached to large furnaces. There’s a smell of dying, human flesh that accompanies the horrifying sight of Birkenau.

5)      What did the Jews in the train car discover when they looked out the window?

Answer: When the Jews looked out the window, they saw a concentration camp, Auschwitz.

Chapter 3

1)      Question: When did Wiesel say the travelers left their illusions behind?

Answer: It was when they left the train at Birkenau. It meant that they had left all their cherished belongings and illusions behind them.

2)      Question: Which notorious SS officer did they meet at Auschwitz?

Answer: At Auschwitz they met a notorious SS officer named Dr. Mengele.

3)      Question: What was Elie’s main thought as the men and women were being herded from the train?

4)      Answer: Elie’s main thought throughout this third section of the book was about God. When he sees babies being burned in a crematorium of their own with a separate fiery chamber for the adults, he couldn’t figure out why God would allow it. He could not figure out why there were Jews thanking God either as some of them broke out into prayer.

5)      Question: What did Elie do when the gypsy struck his father? Why? What was his father’s response?

Answer: Elie didn’t feel or do anything because his theory is that being in the camp makes you lose the love that you originally had. He didn’t react because of the fear of being abused himself and other punishments. He was being precautious.

6)      Question: How long where Elie and his father at Auschwitz? Where did they go after that?

Answer: Elie and his father remained at Auschwitz for 3 weeks. After that, they went to Buchenwald.

Chapter 4

1)      Describe Elie’s encounter with the dentist.

Answer: Elie went to the dentist to have his gold filling removed so when he got there, he pretended to be sick so that he wouldn’t have to get it removed. The dentist then told him to come back when he was feeling better, and to not have to call him again (for him to come on his own). Elie went back later but he pretended again to get himself a few more days. The third time he went back, the dentist had been arrested and Elie got to keep his filling.

2)      Question: What were the only things in which Elie took an interest?

Answer: The only things in which Elie took an interest where the Cabbala and the Talmud.

3)      Question: How did Elie describe the men after the air raid?

Answer: After the air raid, Elie described the men as “different:.

4)      What happened to the young man from Warsaw?

Answer: A week after the bombing, Elie and the other prisoners are forced to witness the hangings of some of their fellow prisoners. One of the victims is a young man from Warsaw, who is killed because he stole items during the clean-up. As he hands, he shouts, “Long live libery! A curse upon germany!”.

5)      How did Elie say the soup tasted the night the pipel (young servant boy) was hanged?

Answer: Elie said that the soup tasted like corpses the night after the young servant boy was hanged.

6)      What events lead to the two hangings Wiesel describes? How does Wiesel feel about his evening meal after each hanging? What do his reactions suggest about how he is feeling?

Answer: The first hanging was for a man who stole from the Germans during an air raid at the camp. He was sentenced to death. The narrator commented that the supper that night tasted better than it ever had been. The next hanging explained was three people. Two of which were men and the last was only a child. As the men cried resistance with their last few breaths, the boy remained silent. When the executioners pulled the floor from under them, the men were dead within seconds. The boy though wasn’t heavy enough to die as quickly. He stayed hung there, gasping for breath. The dinner that night tasted of corpses. Both reactions to these hangings are very different. I think that what it says is that after watching the first hanging, he finds himself lucky to be alive, but after watching the child’s deathbed, he thinks that there comes a time when the Germans have crossed the line and he is disgusted.

Chapter 5

1) Question: What did the men do on the eve of Rosh Hashanah?

Answer:  NONE YET

2) Question: How did Elie feel while the others where praying?

Answer: For Elie, praying had become useless. It served no purpose what so ever. When he got off the train, and he heard the others praying the Prayer of Death “God died for me that night… So, he is distant, aloof. He is not part of this because he no longer subscribes to it.”

3) Question: What was Elie’s decision about fasting on Yom Kippur? Why did he make that decision?

Answer: His decision was that he was going to rebel against God and his religion. He was not going to fast/ He made that decision because he though, “Why should I thank you when you haven’t done anything to get us out of this mess.”

4) Question: What was Elie’s “inheritance” from his father? Why was his father giving it to him?

Answer: His inheritance was a knife and a spoon from his father. His father gave those items to him because they where all he had left, besides his son (Elie).

5)      Question: What did Elie dream of when he dreamed of a better world?

Answer: He dreamed of a universe without a bell for it was the bell that controlled everything, such as giving them orders which they had to execute without a choice. Everyone greatly despised the bell.

6)      Question: What happened to the patients who stayed in the hospital instead of getting evacuated?

Answer: The patients who stayed in the hospital were evacuated safely by Russian troops two days after the others left for another camp. “After the war, I learned the fate of those who had remained in the infirmary. They were, quite simply, liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.”(82)

7)      Question: When he arrives at Auschwitz and then at Buna, Wiesel describes scenes he will never forget. What scenes, ideas, or feelings from the memoir do you find unforgettable?

Answer: There where many scenes, ideas and feelings from his memoir which I found unforgettable. Firstly, I will never forgot how Wiesel described him and his father walking up to the crematorium. I was actually scared for him reading this. Surely I thought, one of them was going to die. I can’t image what he must have felt like, to almost want to kill himself. Another thing that stays in my mind is the description of the little boy who was hung. He didn’t even weigh enough to die instantly, and it took a good length of time before he died. I also cannot image how it must have felt, to watch this poor little boy suffer for such a great deal of time, awaiting his death. Lastly, I will always remember the scene where Mrs. Schächter was going crazy in the train. It seemed as if she could tell the future, or envision where their future lay. It really makes me wonder how she was able to tell, that there would be fire and flames.

8)      Question: Describe the conditions first at the Birkenau reception center, then at Auschwitz, and later at Buna. How does Wiesel’s relationship with his father change during this time?

Answer: The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah has arrived at the end of the summer of 1944. This is a time where the Jews fast for their God. Some of them are torn about whether or not they should stop eating because maybe if they stop it could lead to death. There were still Jews who decided that they would come together to pray, praise and celebrate their God. Although for Elie, he wants nothing to do with praising God. He can no longer find a reason to continue praying to God considering the amount of chaos that is around him. Elie then comes to think that man is stronger than God because they are more resilient and forgiving. Elie’s religious views have been changed drastically since captivity began. In the beginning he prayed to God and praised His name. But after seeing all the torture and murder in the camps, he cannot even find a single reason any more to praise His name.

9)      What are some ways that Wiesel and the other Jews at the camps try to observe their religion? How have Wiesel’s feelings about God changes since his captivity began?

Answer: NONE YET

Chapter 6 – 9

1)      Question: While running, an idea began to fascinate Elie. What was the idea? What kept him from carrying out his idea?

Answer: While running, Elie was fascinated by the idea of dying. The only thing that stopped him was his father’s presence. “The idea of dying, of ceasing to be, began to fascinate me. To no longer exist. To no longer feel the excruciating pain on my foot. To no longer feel anything, neither fatigue nor cold, nothing. To break rank, to let myself slide to the side of the road. My father’s presence was the only thing that stopped me.” (86)

2)      Question:  What happens between Rabbi Eliahou and his son? What did Elie realize about Rabbi Eliahou and his son?

Answer: The Jews were on a forced march and were shot down by the SS if they were to slow down or stop. They were all in bad health conditions and were on the brink of exhaustion. There was a man and his son in this running march. The son abandoned his father when it looked as though his father, Rabbi Eliahou, would not make it. Elie watched that and desperately hopes that he wouldn’t be like the Rabbi’s son. He realizes that he and his father might be put into the same situation.

3)      Question:  What does Wiesel’s reaction to this incident reveal about his relationship with God?

Answer: NONE YET

4)      Question:  What was the name of the camp to which the men walked?

Answer: The name of the camp to which the men walked was Gleiwitz.

5)      Question:  Describe Elie’s meeting with Juliek.

Answer: Elie’s meeting with Juliek is one of panic, disorder and chaos. After just arriving at the new concentration camp after walking in the freezing cold for what seemed like forever, everyone was in a hurry to seek warmth. There was a stampede of people entering the camp, and both Elie and Juliek got trampled in the process. Neither of the boys could breathe very well, and Juliek was worried that his violin may break. When Juliek frees himself, he begins to play his violin for the dead, and those in the process of dying.

6)      Question:  Who was Meir Katz? What happened to him?

Answer: NONE YET

7)      Question:  What happened to Mr. Wiesel, Elie’s father?

Answer: Mr. Wiesel got very sick and Elie wanted to take care of him, one day Mr. Wiesel wanted water and called to Elie to get him some but an SS officer didn’t like it so he beat him. Mr. Wiesel’s last word was “Elie” but Elie ignored him and went to bed. When he woke up he found that a new sick person lay in his father’s cot, and that they must have taken him to the crematorium.

8)      Question: What was Elie’s only desire?

Answer: Elie’s only desire was to eat and only eat. “I spent my days in total idleness, with only one desire: to eat. I no longer thought of my mother or my father.”

9)      Question: Why do Wiesel and his father leave Buna? How do they respond to the circumstances of the forced march?

Answer: Wiesel and his father leave Buna because the SS have sent them on a forced march. Together, they respond to the long, exhausting march by making sure that together they could make it through. The two decided that they were still going to try for life no matter what. They knew that without the other, both would be dead.

10)  Question: How does Wiesel’s link to his father affect his will to survive?

Answer: NONE YET

11)  Question: Given their life or deal situation, do you believe Wiesel’s attitude towards his father was understandable? Explain your reactions.

Answer: Given the life or death situation, I think that Elie’s reaction to wanting to keep the food to him instead of giving it to his sick father is both understandable and astonishing. It’s understandable because they both are facing death and it seemed like his father had just given up, and then to have to give him food that he could use to stay alive seems like a waste of food. But it is also astonishing because this is his father. I would like to think that if I were put into that situation I’d give my father the food without question but I don’t know truly how difficult it must’ve been for Elie.

12)  Question: What happened on April 10, 1945?

Answer: On April 10th 1945, the underground resistance of the camp put up a fight against the SS and took control of the camp. Buchenwald was then liberated by the allied forces.

13)  Question: Wiesel believes that remembering the Holocaust will help to ensure that this type of atrocity does not occur in the future. Do you think learning about the historical events can guide people to behave differently?

Answer: I think that historical events can guide people to behave differently because look back on past occurrences, and there would be people who find that the happenings of the Holocaust and other wars and events simply unbelievable. Their perspective on life changes from before. In that happening, they could convince another about their new outlook on life and in doing so has the butterfly affect. It also helps to look back on historical events so that people don’t make the same mistakes as we’d done in the past. Sometimes it doesn’t always work but there would be a better chance of not making the same mistake if the person knew of what could happen from the past.

Lord of the Flies Leadership Essay

In William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the author makes effective use of characters to represent symbols in a democratic society. Although Ralph, Simon and Piggy are real characters in the novel who are involved in difficult situations during their stay on an isolated Pacific island, they also come to represent as the novel progresses aspects of a modern democratic society. A democratic society requires individuals who will provide rules, protect others’ rights, show compassion, seek truth and pursue activities of an intellectual and scientific nature. Ralph symbolizes a leadership based on order and respect of others, Simon represents the humanitarian and seeker of truth, and Piggy stands for the rational, scientific thinker of a democracy.

Ralph establishes his power and reveals himself as a natural leader by respecting, and gaining respect from the other boys while also keeping order amongst one another. He has directness in his manner which the narrator describes as “genuine leadership”(Ch1 P27). Ralph also displays a need for civilized and orderly manner. He displays this at the beginning when he creates a democratic symbol around the conch so that everyone could be heard and respected by others. “And another thing. We can’t have everybody talking at once. We’ll have to have ‘Hands up’ like at school.” … “. I’ll give the conch to the next person to speak. He can hold it when he’s speaking.”(Ch2 P36) This clearly displays natural leadership abilities, and how he is building a democratic system. His civilized and orderly manner is also shown when only he and Simon where willing to build the huts, in which they would live, while the other boys where off hunting, slowly drifting away from civilization. “Been working for days now. And look!”  Two shelters were in position, but shaky. This one was a ruin. “And they keep running off. You remember the meeting? How everyone was going to work hard until the shelters were finished?” … “They’re hopeless. The older ones aren’t much better. D’you see? All day I’ve been working with Simon. No one else. They’re off bathing, or eating, or playing.”  He also demonstrates his leadership and organizational skills by attempting to assign tasks to each of the boys. “We’ve got to have special people for looking after the fire. Any day there may be a ship out there”—he waved his arm at the taut wire of the horizon—”and if we have a signal going they’ll come and take us off. And another thing. We ought to have more rules. Where the conch is, that’s a meeting.” (Ch2 P46-47)

Ralph is putting his heart and soul into leading, respecting, and creating an organized and civilized society around the boys.

Simon has a strong sense of kindness, benevolence and sympathy towards all of the boys on the island, and also has a great desire to discover truth. His sense of humanitarianism is displayed through the helping of others. When it came to the point where the littluns’ could no longer reach the fruit on the trees, it was him who helped them retrieve it.  “Then, amid the roar of bees in the afternoon sunlight, Simon found for them the fruit they could not reach, pulled off the choicest from up in the foliage, passed them back down to the endless, outstretched hands. When he had satisfied them he paused and looked round. The littluns watched him inscrutably over double handfuls of ripe fruit.” (Ch3 P61)  He could have been doing many other things with his time, but instead chose to spend it by helping others in need. He is also a seeker of truth. He knew that the beast was not real and needed to find out the truth for himself. “”Maybe,” he said hesitantly, “maybe there is a beast.” …  “What I mean is . . . maybe it’s only us.” (Ch5 P97) He is compelled to find out the truth, even if it means risking his life in the process. “Simon saw a humped thing suddenly sit up on the top and look down at him. He hid his face, and toiled on.  The flies had found the figure too. The life-like movement would scare them off for a moment so that they made a dark cloud round the head. Then as the blue material of the parachute collapsed the corpulent figure would bow forward, sighing, and the flies settle once more. He crawled forward and soon he understood. The tangle of lines showed him the mechanics of this parody; he examined the white nasal bones, the teeth, the colors of corruption. He saw how pitilessly the layers of rubber and canvas held together the poor body that should be rotting away. Then the wind blew again and the figure lifted, bowed, and breathed foully at him. Simon knelt on all fours and was sick till his stomach was empty. Then he took the lines in his hands; he freed them from the rocks and the figure from the wind’s indignity.” (Ch9 P161) This shows that it was he who built up enough courage to seek the truth about the beast. He also displayed his humanitarianism by freeing the dead man from the entanglement. Simon does not give in to savagery, and continuously displays a strong sense of kindness towards the others. It is his desire to seek truth that eventually leads to his death.

Piggy is clearly the most intelligent boy on the island, he used his rational and scientific thinking to help the boys, but his suggestions where often overlooked. He made many intelligent observations over his time on the island, such as the fact they nobody knew where they where, so how would they get rescued? “”Nobody knows where we are,” said Piggy. He was paler than before and breathless. “Perhaps they knew where we was going to; and perhaps not. But they don’t know where we are ‘cos we never got there.””(Ch2 P37) He also has to remind Ralph that the fire is the most important thing. It is the fire that was going to get them rescued. “Ralph tried indignantly to remember. There was something good about a fire. Something overwhelmingly good.  “Ralph’s told you often enough,” said Piggy moodily. “How else are we going to be rescued?” “Of course! If we don’t make smoke–“” (Ch10 P180) It’s beginning to seem as if Piggy is the only one left who hasn’t begun to turn into a savage. After the scare of the beast, it is also Piggy who comes up with the idea of moving the signal fire onto the beach. It is as if the others don’t care about it anymore, and would rather just not get rescued than to bother keeping a fire up. “”We got no fire on the mountain. But what’s wrong with a fire down here? A fire could be built on them rocks. On the sand, even. We’d make smoke just the same.”” (Ch8 P142) Piggy also displays his vast scientific knowledge by thinking of new ideas.  If Piggy had been heard, it would have been these ideas that would have kept the boys closer to civilization. An example is when he suggests attempting to make a sundial. “”I’ve been thinking,” he said, “about a clock. We could make a sundial. We could put a stick in the sand, and then–“” (Ch4 P70) If the others had listened to Piggy’s excellent ideas, and not ignored his rational decisions, the way things turned out surely would have been more civilized.

In the novel, Simon Ralph and Piggy where forced to overcome many difficult challenges. By creating rules, protecting each others rights, showing compassion, seeking truth and pursuing activities of an intellectual and scientific nature, these boys where able to begin constructing a democracy on the island in attempt to maintain order and civilization. If it was not for the loss of restraint by some of the boys, things surely would have happened differently.

Lord of the Flies Theme

Lord of the Flies: Themes

“When an individual loses restraint, a society collapses into savagery and chaos”

Character: Jack

On the island, Jack begins to lose his civilized manner. As time goes on he begins to drift farther and farther away from the old life. He no longer cares about the way be looks, what he does or how he does it.  He begins to act as if he no longer cares about getting rescued, and just wants to continue on with his savage ways. He even says he wanted to kill a pig before they got rescued. The actions that Jack is demonstrating have begun to influence the other boys. Jack even went as far as to hit Piggy in the face and break his glasses; nothing was done in return as a punishment to Jack, this may also show the others that they too can be violent and shall have no punishment. Ralphs attempt to keep everything in order; to have a society structured by rules has begun to collapse because of Jacks actions. The others are beginning to follow along with him, and bit by bit, they too are turning into savages. Rules are being broken and nobody is doing what is necessary for their main goal to be achieved: to get rescued.

Quotes

“We want meat” – Chapter 3 Page 55

“Rescue? Yes, of course! All the same I’d like to catch a pig first.” – Chapter 3 Page 58

“If I could only get a pig” – Chapter 3 Page 60

These quotes express Jacks savagery and need to hunt; he doesn’t even remember what rescue it. Even when a ship passes because he let the fire out, he becomes angry because nobody acknowledged his first kill.

“Jack smacked Piggy’s head. Piggy’s glasses flew off and tinkled on the rocks. Piggy cried out in horror.” – Chapter 4 Page 78

This shows Jacks loss of restraint, he can’t hold back and hits Piggy. This definitely shows his loss of restraint, and now others may think it’s alright to follow after Jacks actions.

“The circle moved in and round. Robert squealed in mock terror, then in real pain.” – Chapter 7 Page 126

The boys decide to pretend Robert is the pig and make a game.  All the boys began to jab Robert with their spears, which shows they are starting to have very little respect for someone’s life and well being. Jack had him by the hair, and even Ralph joined in.