World Literature Advanced
May 22nd, 2013
Striving To Survive
Charles Darwin is famously known for the idea of survival of the fittest . The experience of surviving is the basis of everyday life. Survival is a key motivation for pushing through traumatic events, making a person strong or weak. There are many texts that illustrate the aspects of survival, such as the novel Night by Ellie Wiesel, The Song of Roland by Frederick Goldin and All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque. These texts represent how human experiences are conquered by the will and motivations for one to survive.
The pride within a soldier is gained by the survival through making it out of warfare. The honor afterwards defines a character, giving them strength. As Roland fails to survive he turned his toward the Saracen hosts, and this is why: with all his heart he wants King Charles the Great and all his men to say, he died, that noble count, a conqueror (608 Goldin). Roland s motivation to survive fed off the pride he would gain after his death, for himself and others. Still, as the enemy attacked him, he fought till he bled, down on the ground. While trying to survive, the idea of pride stuck around and pushed Roland to continue on. The craving to have pride as a soldier kept war and staying alive ongoing. Roland refuses to back down as he makes his final blow his sight is gone; gets on his feet, draws on his final strength, the color on his face lost now for good (607 Goldin). Mustering up strength, he begins slaying a rock, trying to break his sword. Upon it not breaking, this symbolizes how no matter what his mark of survival will stay alive, as well as the dignity of giving everything he had in order to serve his country.
The traumatic events Ellie Wiesel and his family had to face are unbelievable. The only way to keep the element of family alive was by surviving. Ellie clings onto his father as they head into what would soon be a living nightmare. Together, they only have each other as a motivation to survive. The thought of a loved one being alone to suffer would be overcome by the love of a father and a son. Inseparable, Ellie holds on to his father..."My hand tightened its grip on my father. All I could think of was not to lose him" (30 Wiesel). Losing his father meant losing hope and determination to stay alive. Without family, life would be meaningless to Ellie. The conditions that Ellie and his father encountered were ones that were very easy to fall apart under. Together they used each other for support and determination to stay alive. As Ellie wants to give up he says to himself, "My father's presence was the only thing that stopped me. He was running next to me, out of breath, out of strength, desperate. I had no right to let myself die..." (87 Wiesel). He cannot give up now, no matter how badly he wants to. To the side of him is his father that he loves and pushes on forward for. Without him, Ellie's care to survive would be dead. This makes Ellie and his father stronger because together they can persevere through anything.
Being involved in live, hands on war is an unforgettable memory for a solider. As one watches while others are being murdered right before their eyes, it would only push someone to stay alive longer. Fear motivates a soldier to survive, because the thought of dying is frightening. As every soldier is panicking and going insane, the young German solider tries to escape..."I fling myself down and when I stand up the wall of the trench is plastered with smoking splinters, lumps of flesh, and bits of uniform. I scramble back (Remarque). Staying out of harms way, it is his instant reflex to survive in the situation hes encountered with. The idea of dying is what any solider fears while in combat, and the desperation to survive feeds off of that fear. As the battle continues on, the trauma does as well. These soldiers who were once ordinary men,