Passage Analysis from "If This Is A Man" Essay example

Passage Analysis from "If This Is A Man" Essay example

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This passage, which is taken from the closing pages of Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is A Man’, describes the final days in the concentration camp. To put it into context; the Germans, who were keen to save themselves, have abandoned Levi and the others, who are too ill to travel, to fend for themselves. Levi focuses on the irony of their situation; after suffering the horrors of the camp Levi and his fellow abandoned prisoners are finally free, but in reality they do not receive the benefits normally associated with freedom, they are in fact in many ways worse off than before. In this extract Levi highlights how despite the freezing conditions, there is a thaw in human relationships.

“I have a ration of bread under the sack. Divide it among you three. I shall not be eating anymore”
These are the first words of this passage, they are important because they clearly show that this man has been through countless horrific experiences, and as a result he has lost the will to live. He has accepted that death is around the corner, and so chooses to give up his ration of bread, to help his fellow prisoners. The act of kindness of giving up his bread, shows that these men are still able to be kind to one another, they still have their sense of decency. Which is rather a contrast to what has been seen by these men throughout the book and their time in the camp. It would have been expected that in their time spent being abused, they would have lost their ability to be kind. Instead there is evidence that the rules of the Lager, where every man is for himself, are no longer being adhered to, they have chosen to remain respectable men, by offering to help each other, and by not accepting the bread offered to them, shows that they still have the...


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... to become part of the grayness. Charles takes off his beret as a sign of respect; respect being another trait of man which is something these men have managed to hand on to.
Primo Levi regretted not having a beret to pay respect, as a result he felt regret. Regret also a trait of man, meaning Levi managed to remain a man.
This passage is effective as a final passage to the book, because it shows that there is warmth in the relationships made, and the rules of the Lager are no longer being followed. It reflects how everything changed, their compassion for each other and the beginning of the return to being ‘normal’ human beings. The passage also sums up what these men had been through, and it shows the transformation of some from man to machine, allowing the reader to really feel the struggle that these men have had in order to survive, and ultimately to remain man.

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