Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"...To the Gas Chamber"

This was a very interesting reading, and, as many other of my classmates have pointed out, Borowski's tone was not expected by most of us. After reading this, I went back and looked at the title itself. I think the title could have been a clear giveaway about the tone of the reading. "Ladies and Gentlemen, to the Gas Chamber" to me reads like an announcer of a boxing match or the person that says "Drivers, start your engines" at the start of the Indy 500 (this person has a specific title, but I can't remember what it is!). A passage in the reading ties in nicely with this interpretation, and it could be the basis for Borowski's sarcastic and almost carefree tone: (2779) "There is the law of the camp that people going to their death must be deceived at the last moment. It is the only permissible form of pity." This passage to me seems like Borowski may not be exaggerating the carefree nature of the prisoners. Since their death was imminent, their only way to escape the thought of the gas chambers was to try to restore as much as the attitude and mental well-being of their previous life as possible. The narrator can only escape from the true horror of the concentration camp for so long. On 2783, a girl asks him, "Listen, tell me, where are they taking us?". The narrator thinks to himself, "I looked at her. Here, before me, stood a girl with beautiful blond hair, wonderful breasts in an organdy summer blouse, her look wise and mature. Here she stood looking straight into my face and waited. Here, the gas chamber: mass death." The narrator can no longer dodge the question, and, through his hesitation, the girl discovers where they are going.

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