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The delineation of human life is perceiving existence through resolute contrasts.  The difference between day and night is defined by an absolute line of division.  For the Jewish culture in the twentieth century, the dissimilarity between life and death is bisected by a definitive line - the Holocaust.  Accounts of life during the genocide of the Jewish culture emerged from within the considerable array of Holocaust survivors, among of which are Elie Wiesels Night and Simon Wiesenthals The Sunflower.  Both accounts of the Holocaust diverge in the main concepts in each work; Wiesel and Wiesenthal focus on different aspects of their survivals.  Aside from the themes, various aspects, including perception, structure, organization, and flow of arguments in each work, also contrast from one another.  Although both Night and The Sunflower are recollections of the persistence of life during the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel and Simon Wiesenthal focus on different aspects of their existence during the atrocity in their corresponding works.
Elie Wiesel, winner of the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, wrote Night with the notion for society to advance its understanding of the Holocaust.  The underlying theme of Night is faith.  Elie Wiesel, for the majority of this work, concerns the faith and survival of his father, Chlomo Wiesel.  The concept of survival intertwines with faith, as survival is brought upon Elies faith in his father.  Both Elie and Chlomo are affected in the same manner as their Jewish society.  The self-proclaimed superman race of the German Nazis suppress and ultimately decimate the Jewish society of its time.  Elie and Chlomo, alongside their Jewish community, were regarded as subhumans in a world supposedly fit for the Nazi conception.  The oppression of Elie and Chlomo begins in 1944, when the Germans constrain the Jews of Sighet into two ghettos.  During the time of Nazi supremacy, Elie and Chlomo are forced to travel to various concentration camps, including Birkenau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald.  

The determining concern of survival confronts both Elie and Chlomo throughout Night.  The concept of survival is illustrated by the complications brought upon Elie and Chlomo.  Elie and Chlomo believe they could only survive the concentration camps with one another; the father-and-son link was held together for the survival of each other.  One complication in particular, was the instance when the SS officers separate Chlomo from Elie during a selection at Gleiwitz, as it was [t]he weak, to the left; those who could walk well, to the right.  My father was sent to the left (Wiesel 91).  Elie, fearing separation from his father, tries to overcome this problem by running after him.  However, with several SS officers running toward Elie in order to constrain him, many people from the left were able to come back to the right and among them, my father and myself (Wiesel 91).  Elies act of improvisation allowed him to remain alongside his father.
The raw act of survival itself confronted both Elie and Chlomo several times in Night.  At one point during the march to Gleiwitz, the mass was allowed to rest.  However, if the victims were not ready to form their ranks, the SS officers would shoot the resting bodies to death.  To overcome this complication for survival, Chlomo decides that Elie should sleep, while Chlomo would awaken him when ranks were to be formed.  Elie refused, while [his] father ... was gently dozing. ... [He] could not see his eyes (Wiesel 85).  Elie, attentive during this time, was able to awaken his father in order to form ranks.  The tactic to watch his father sleep allowed both victims to form ranks upon the SS officers commands; thus, Elie and Chlomo overcame their difficulty of sleep and death.

The concept of survival advances Elie Wiesels theme of Night faith.  The process of surviving alongside his father allows Elie to bury faith in his very fathers existence.  The most significant event in Night is when Elie injects faith into his father, even though he renounces his faith in God.  During his first night at Birkenau, Elie states, Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. ... Never shall I forgot those moments ... more

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Alcohol And Society

Jean Toomer

Jean Toomer's family was not typical of migrating African Americans settling in the North, or fleeing the South. Each of his maternal grandparents were born of a caucasian father. But a "speck of Black makes you Black." Thus, Toomer's grandfather, Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, was a free born black, a Union officer in the Civil War and was elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor and later Acting Governor of Louisiana during Reconstruction. The Pinchback's retired north and settled in the Negro community of the capitol. Thus, Toomer was born, as Nathan Pinchback Toomer into an upper class Negro family in Washington D.C. on December 26, 1894. Shortly after Toomer's birth, his caucasion father deserted his wife and son, and in 1996 Toomer's mother, Nina Toomer, gave him the name Nathan Eugene (which he later shortened to Jean). At the age of ten he was stricken with severe stomach ailments which he survived with a greatly altered life. He showed strength early - when faced with adversity, rather than wring his hands and retreat further into himself, Toomer searched for a plan of action, an intellectual scheme and method to cope with a personal crisis. Toomer writes in Wayward and Seeking, "I had an attitude towards myself that I was superior to wrong-doing and above criticism and reproach ... I seemed to induce, in the grownups, an attitude which made them keep their hands off me; keep, as it were, a respectable distance." Eugene and Nina and a new husband moved to New York in 1906; however, upon Nina's death in 1909, Nathan moved back to Washington and his grandparents.

When Jean Toomer graduated from high school he began traveling. He studied at five places of higher education in a period of less than four years. At the University of Wisconsin, he enrolled in the agriculture program. Half a year later, however, he determined that Wisconsin was an atmosphere not meant for him, and he thus moved to Massachusetts to study at the Massachusetts College of Agriculture. During his period of transition between the two colleges, Toomer found an interest in physical fitness. Before officially enrolling at Massachusetts, he changed his mind, opting instead to begin taking classes at the American College of Physical Training in Chicago. Five months later, in January of 1916, he moved to Chicago to begin his studies. By the fall of 1916 he also

began supplementing his education with studies at the University of Chicago.

"I have lived by turn in Washington, New York, Chicago, and Sparta (Georgia)... I have worked, it seems to me, at everything: selling papers, delivery boy, soda clerk, salesman, shipyard worker, librarian-assistant, physical director, school teacher, grocery clerk, and God knows what all. Neither the universities of Wisconsin or New York gave me what I wanted, so I quit them."

It was in Chicago that Toomer began to broaden his interest in literature. Although evidence shows that, in addition to Dante's Inferno , Toomer was affected by Herman Melville's Moby Dick to such a degree that he actually compared himself to Ishmael by having "mentally turned failure to triumph." One of the most prominent literary characters with whom he became enthralled was Victor Hugo's character Jean Valjean; Toomer

His southern sojourn as a school principal in Sparta, Georgia (1922) found in him the belief that he had located his ancestral roots (from Toomer's experience and influence, Sparta was popularized as an ancestral root source by many of the Harlem Renaissance intelligensia; e.g., Zora Neal Hurston and Langston Hughes both traveled there in the summer of 1927). Thus, he began to write poems, stories, and sketches, especially about southern women whose stretch towards self-realization forced them into conflict with American societal moral attitudes. Upon return to Washington, he repeated his efforts, this time focusing on inhibited Negroes in the North. He made friends with Waldo Frank published in the most important journals. The result, for Toomer, was a book, Cane.

In 1923 Cane was published together with Waldo Frank's Holiday . Frank was a mentor for Toomer, reading much of his work before publication. Toomer edited the manuscript of and actually wrote all the dialogue in Holiday.

A few "important" white people thought Cane was an ... more

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