Thursday, April 17, 2008

Welcome to the Gas Chambers

The tone of this piece, as others have pointed out, is very frank and to-the-point. It is just another thing the narrator has to deal with, so he might as well make the best of it. That point has been made. What surprised me was how concerned the narrator seemed to be with nationality and ethnicity. In the middle of the story, around page 2777, he has already noted his friend is a Frenchman, and makes sure to complain about the Greeks sitting around him: "huge inhuman insects." He later makes notice of a Muslim who is apparently not very popular with the other campers. It seems that this way of thinking, of dividing people up by pretty arbitrary means, is exactly the kind of thinking that made the concentration camps possible. It is an irony of sorts that the narrator falls into exactly the same kind of trap that got him into this mess.

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