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Posted on March 18th, 2013, by

This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski is incredibly useful to get the general sense of terror fear millions of people experienced under Nazi’s expose. Extremely natural picture of inside death camp’s life, presents reader the internal emotional part of happened tragedy. It is interesting that this books allows us to get two sides of the same coin, as mental suffering of those who were involved to ruthless massacre is described together with emotional conditions of terror victims. Obviously, the fear of these people is not showed directly. Readers are allowed to make interpretations through characters’ defense mechanisms finding analyzing. Let’s put some examples to support this claim, going from less to more convincing ones.
At first, let’s remind the scene with Russian Canada member, who forced woman and her child to get the truck to the gas chamber. Inhuman anger to denying motherhood woman of this character can be explained like boundless hatred at the first glance. However, character’s negative response to S.S. officer, who praised evil actions, gave readers food for thought. Seemingly, character’s actions can be explained like projection defensive mechanism – attributing uncomfortable feeling of fear to innocent woman, who just wanted to save her life.
Then, readers are able to draw rather similar conclusions from one of the beginning scenes with praying rabbi. Being motivated to protect himself from the fear of around environment, one of the main characters Henry said next words: Can’t somebody shut him up? He’s been raving as if he’d caught God himself by the feetReligion is the opium of the people. If they didn’t believe in God and eternal life, they’d have smashed the crematoria long ago. Conceivably, this attitude can be approached as rationalization defensive mechanism – creating false but credible justifications.
Previous two examples can be strongly argued inherently, but next two quotes from the text look much more convincing. To talk about the first of them, displacement as the defensive mechanism to fear should be reminded. In this order, displacement has to be understood as redirecting emotions to a substitute target. Now, let’s remind main characters’ intention to get the shoes for one of them during unloading. This idea took their minds when they were in camp, and did no left the mind of onr them even after the first transporting was completed. Remember, when the main character was finished with the stress from first arrival, Henry was too worried about shoes to his friend: All right. Just sit here quietly and don’t let an S.S. man see you. I’ll try to find you your shoes. – Just leave me alone. Never mind the shoes. I want to sleep. Definitely, the Displacement took place there.
The last, but the most important part to talk about fear defensive mechanisms from read text is the scene when main character appeared doubted in own goodness. Actually, this scene is useful to get the main idea of characters intention to hide from the fear and tragedy they had to experience. Being the key line in the text, it looks incredibly interesting to be analyzed. So, the main character said: You see, my friend, you see, I don’t know why, but I am furious, simply furious with these peoplefurious because I must be here because of them. I feel no pity. I am not sorry they’re going to the gas chamber. Damn them all! I could throw myself at them, beat them with my fists. It must be pathological, I just can’t understand. What was his partner’s response? Here is the quote: Ah, on the contrary, it is natural, predictable, calculated. The ramp exhausts you, you rebeland the easiest way to relieve your hate is to turn against someone weaker. Why, I’d even call it healthy. It’s simple logic, compris? What is the message of this part? This reference is useful to get the sense of even two defensive mechanisms. The first of them is Intellectualization – taking an objective viewpoint. This idea is traced in the main idea of Henry character. The second is Projection, which was already mentioned before. Attributing uncomfortable feelings to others, as the way to avoid fear became feature of main character and it made him confused about his goodness.
It looks like the last analyzed part from the text raised one more relevant question whether were the characters good people? Eventually, the plot does not give us clear answer. Personalities from read text neither good nor bad. Readers meet enforced people, who have to accept the dreadful and oppressed reality. As for the senses of brutality and indifference inherent to them, they cannot be treated likewise evil manifestations. These are the products of defensive mechanisms and nothing more. The survival instinct is incredibly strong with its mental effects, thus, we are not enforced to judge Canada characters, who had to take part in inhuman extermination of millions of innocent people. They just did their job to stay alive: Rechts ran! To the right march! snaps a command from up front. We move out of their way.

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