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Human Behavior Under Extreme Conditions

  • Date Submitted: 11/18/2012 08:42 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 66 
  • Words: 1036
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Human Behavior Under Extreme Conditions
Have you ever wondered how you would act in certain situations that tested your own character, morals, and humanity? Would you be able to hold your sanity, or become uncontrollable in your efforts to survive? Unfortunately, many prisoners in the concentration camps during the Holocaust had lost all normal human behavior and had become totally different individuals. At the same time, how could the Nazi guards deal out such cruel acts to those prisoners? Did they not have any kind of conscious at all? Under extreme situations, like the Holocaust, human behavior and individual character can take drastic and sudden changes throughout periods of time.
Towards the beginning of the book Night by Elie Wiesel, you get the first sight of changed human behavior when the people are boarded into the cars. Confined and cramped in a small place with no food, water, or sanitation, the people start to have no respect for the others around them. In one instance, a woman starts to hysterically scream about a fire that is nowhere to be seen and the people bound, gag, and even beat her in hopes of silencing her (Wiesel p. 26). Their treatment towards the woman would definitely have been different under normal circumstances and not that harsh.
Another, yet more intense, example of change in behavior was when a son had actually beaten his own father to death for just a scrap of bread (Wiesel p. 101). For the Jews in the concentration camps, survival for oneself was soon to be priority number one. The prisoners were forced to adapt to the “camp life” and was denied their humanity and were treated as less than humans and more like animals. This treatment led them to behave in “crude, brutal, and uncivilized ways” regardless of who they were (“Night Summary and Analysis” 1). Wiesel mentions in his book about a different situation where the son knowingly left his father behind as they were running, in hopes to rid him self of the burden he felt...


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