English 3-4
6 June 2013
Fear: A Steering Wheele
The definition of fear is a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, etc, whether the threat is real or imagined. For anybody that knows what fear truly is knows that it can destroy you. It can turn the bravest person into a coward, driving them into a state of mental disorientation, causing them to do things they never ever imagined they would. In Night by Elie Wiesel, an eye witness account is given of Elie’s experiences at death and labor camps with his father. In Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni, a man named Guido is put into a concentration camp in Italy with his son and wife. In both the novel and the movie, Wiesel and Benigni use setting and characterization of the main protagonists to illustrate that when man succumbs to fear, mans ability to act morally erodes.
While Wiesel directly invokes fear using setting in order to set up the eventual moral decay of the characters, Benigni avoids fear in the setting to allow the characters to cling to their morals. In Night the overall setting is one of fear and despair. In the book when first arriving at Auschwitz, Wiesel describes a dark and depressing scene filled with fear and “flames… and in the air that smell of burning flesh.” (Wiesel 26) Wiesel uses this setting to drive fear into the reader. The smell of someone burning and the fear of death would drive fear into anybody. Elie is frightened when he first arrives. He is scared of the death that swarms around him like a hive of bees. However, over time Elie and the Jews around him develop a tone of not really caring about death.   Later in the book, inside the train to Buchenwald, Elie depicts a setting filled with dead bodies and how the “gravediggers took him, one by the head and one by the feet, and threw him out of the wagon like a sack of flour.” (Wiesel 94) These men are surrounded by death and are scared. They want to survive and will do anything to accomplish that. Ripping of the...