Survival of the Fittest

In: English and Literature

Submitted By bbtgangsta
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In Convocation Address, Hungarian-Jewish poet and writer George Faludy illuminates his experiences in a draconian communist concentration camp and inculcates his findings about the importance of education. In his time in the concentration camp, Faludy helped initiate lecture groups with his fellow inmates. Faludy asserts that “learning on one occasion ensured the physical and spiritual survival of several hundred people” (28). The legacy of a man on the brink of hardship endures. Faludy recalls that his plight was “better than in a Nazi concentration camp” (28), but the onus of hard labour, and the trepidation of isolation have left a traumatic experience. In order to escape the terrible conditions of the camp, Faludy, armed with a repertoire of intellect, was determined to give lectures in the “barracks at night” on an eclectic of subjects, such as “literature, history or philosophy” (28). However, some prisoners refused to join the group because they thought it was an insane idea to waste their “sleeping time in lectures when [they] were all going to die anyway” (29). Faludy claims that dubiety was common among “men who had been most determined to survive, those who had concentrated on nothing but food, sleep, and warmth” (29). Furthermore, he presents proof that these men had limited longevity when one of his pupils died after dismissing his attendance in the lectures and said, “he was going…to live the life of a tree or a vegetable” ( Faludy 29). Faludy concludes his address with a fascinating realization that “our whole tradition of art and thought is neither an amusement nor a yoke” (30). He points out that our propensity for “sitting comfortably in the present” does not secure our longevity. However, he believes that the “thought and experience of those who have lived before us” (30) are descendants of all humanity and can provide a clear path…...

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