The collection of stories Ladies and Gentlemen, To the Gas Chamber by T. Borowski and Heartease New England 1987 by L. Goodison depict human relations and the role of responsibility in life of people. The authors use unique examples and vivid images to depict that an accidental demise, dealt blindly, often by unseen forces miles above or away from the soldier whose life was endangered, rendered death more probably ironic than heroic. In fact, for the common person the technology facet of the formless war posed unprecedented problems of explanation. Ethical considerations aside, the immediate consequence of such blind destructive capacity was to make the environment appear completely lethal. Thesis Borowski and Goodison describe that hardship and personal grievances often lead to lack of moral responsibility in the face of human sufferings.
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Borowski depicts the life if a concentration camp and lack of morality among soldiers and prisoners. It often seemed as if all the forces of man and nature had conspired to take the life in the bush. Upon hearing the sound of an unmistakably artillery shell land nearby, a soldier expressed a perception common in the war zone: Rather, death is viewed simply as the cessation of biological viability, the result of mishap. By focusing attention on the story conditions, readers have tried to demonstrate how the war’s formlessness fueled the de-objectivation of meanings. The confounding of cognitive structures for explaining war forced the Henri and a deputy Kapo.
The poem Heartease New England 1987 underlines that moral responsibility is important for every person as it allows to perceive and understand the world around us. The fundamental task of any society, even (or perhaps especially) during war, is to furnish order, to provide forms for experience. Such order provides meaning without which members of a society are overwhelmed in their ongoing encounter with the world. Order is integral to every society, and all social institutions are geared to the maintenance of social forms. This fact is especially apparent if we consider the most basic social institution out of which all others flourish: language. Language provides the fundamental assortment of categories under which to subsume experience. The author questions: “What is my mission” Speak, leaves / for all journeys have hidden missions” (Goodison). A recognition of this feature of man’s nature may give us some intellectual leverage for grasping adequately the full impact which the formless war had on those who experienced it. For if the imposition of recognizable form is universally necessary for human social life, then the desuetude of form is terrifying.
In sum, the authors portray that hardship and lack of stability lead to low moral values and lack of responsibility among people. This obsession with survival as the biological issues of meaning is precisely what the authors come to comprehend and endorse. The meanings carried over from those works are progressively stripped of plausibility by the daily activities in which people are engaged during difficult times. Such a comparison shows a crusade against meaning rather than for hearts and minds. In this situation, one’s knowledge is no longer trustworthy, because appearances may belie the underlying reality. Reality therefore becomes problematic and potentially deceptive. The main meaning of the works can be described as a cry of bewilderment in the face of evaporating forms through which to interpret experience.
- Borowski, T. Ladies and Gentlemen, To the Gas Chamber, Norton Anthology of World Literature Volume F.
- Goodison, L. Heartease New England 1987. Norton Anthology of World Literature Volume F.