Essay on Ladies and Gents to the Gas Chambers

Submitted By andydawson
Words: 654
Pages: 3

“Can Tolstoy Save Your Marriage” and “For Better Social Skills” make the case that reading great literature is vital to an individual’s ability to understand the human condition and to interact in the most profound way with others. These articles suggest that the great literature gives us a more profound understanding of humanity as well as the tools to exist within that profundity. I would argue that this idea is correct. The classic works describe who WE are, what WE may become, and give us a greater glimpse into the highest peaks and darkest depths of the human psyche.
“Ladies and Gents to the Gas Chambers” is unquestionably a work worthy of the title Great. Some may argue that it is less a work of great literature than a work of historic storytelling, this argument considers only the surface plot of the story. While on the surface this story is an historical account of humankinds darkest hour it does not simply describe the events but examines the nature of those who carried them out. The story revolves around several individuals who are themselves prisoners in a concentration camp but who live better than other prisoners due to their cooperation with their captors. The opening of the story shows a group of men sitting, talking, and eating before a hard days work. At the start these men are no different than any other blue collar worker. Borowski does an excellent job of presenting these people as regular everyday human beings. As they begin to discuss the fate of others and their own relative luxury they become individuals making the best of a horrifying situation. While they are surviving and others, such as the Rabbi whose praying will send him to the chambers sooner, are dying and living terribly there is a truth that these working men cannot save those who are so doomed. Borowski starts the story by describing ordinary men in extraordinary circumstances who are doing what they must to survive. Survival of the fittest has been a natural law and one which civilized humanity has embraced more often than not.
Once these working men begin their assigned task the wretched insanity of their circumstances is revealed. As these regular men corral and lie to the victims of Nazi madness the true depth of the bottomless well of evil to which humanity is capable is shown in vivid imagery. The full spectrum of hatred, sorrow, and the destruction of hope is burned into the eternal…