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Essay Outlines - Discuss how the works of the following...

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Discuss how the works of the following scholars and writers address the question of choice and individual responsibility . Thesis: Context vs. Individual choice or complexity and involves all authors interps A.) VICTIM BEHAIOR 1. Lawrence L. Langer: “The Dilemma of Choice in the Deathcamps” Langer argues that in the oppressive context of the final solution and the deathcamps, Jews had no agency or control over their lives and. Idea that it wouldn’t matter if you were strong and adaptable, but matter of luck or unluck. “extermingation was their fate from the moment they entered the camps--- freedom of moral decision vanished because the antagonist was in total control of the means of supporting life and the manner of imposing death.” P. 229 Talks about big structure/overall structure—the context of the situation He says that since Jews were faced with a “choiceless choice,” one cannot judge them based on their decisions/actions because they didn’t have any moral options so they couldn’t make a moral choice and by judging them it implies they had a choice. He agrees with Levi that words (he calls “free words”) such as “dignity” and “choice,” lose their meaning in the context of the situation. he suggests that victims shouldn't be held responsible for some of the choices they made (like the women killing the baby) because they were faced with choiceless choices and therefore shouldn't be judged. Choiceless choice =critical decisions did not reflect options between life and death, but between one form of “abnormal response” and another, both imposed by a situation that was in now way the victim’s own chooising. 1.) EX: Jewish girl employed as a clerk drowned the infant in cold water while the nurse watched—nurse wanted to shout “Murderess,” but “had to keep quiet and could not tell anyone.” girl said “We had to save the mother, otherwise she would have gone to the gas chamber,” because Nazi “law” stating that mothers who refuse to surrender their newborn infants to death must accompany them to the gas chamber. “Reality defeats both a language of judgment and mode of behavior.” “Situation that allows no heroic response, no acceptable gesture of protest, no mode mode of action to permit any of the participants, including the absent mother, to retain a core of human dignity.” 2.) EX: Ask Jennifer—p. 226 Reader: single limited source of water for washing and for draining excrement from the latrine. . “It is dreadful to be without water; it is impossible to let people take away all the water while feces are piling up in the ditches!” --“redefining decency” 3.) Nazi told Mother of three children “that she might save one ” p. 228 “How is a character to survive any decision in such a situation, and retain a semblance of human dignity” 4.) Old man who sat down while being escorted to gas chamber and when threatened by guard he said “No, don’t kill me. I’m going, I’m going!”— choice is not betw life and death, resistance and submission, courage and
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This note was uploaded on 03/06/2008 for the course JS 211 taught by Professor Gillerman during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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Essay Outlines - Discuss how the works of the following...

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