The Horrors Of World War Ii Depicted In Literary Works Of Twentieth Century Writers

1429 words - 6 pages

World War II had many effects in the middle of the twentieth century. Included are the emotional and psychological effects on those who wrote literary works and used their experiences as subjects to write about. Such are the cases of Italian writers who saw to the deepest extents the effects of WWII in Italy. Twentieth century Europe has been for many people a time of great turmoil and destruction. Two world wars have impacted the lives of many, and the events in the war have been the source of inspiration for great writers.
Primo Levi, born in Turin July 31, 1919, was an Italian-Jew. He was deported to a concentration camp in Auschwitz, and from his experiences there he writes novels like ...view middle of the document...

Primo Levi was struck by the subhuman treatment of the Jews in the camps and reflects it in “Shema” when he says, “Consider whether this is a man/ Who labours in the mud/ Who knows no peace…” (5-7). Levi also urges the reader to keep his story going: “Consider that this has been/ I commend these words to you/ Repeat them to your children...” (15-21). The way the German soldiers treated Levi and the other prisoners is the reason and subject of his poems.
Saba reflects his emotions and the shock of the war in “Consolation”. He exclaims, “It was more than I ever imagined in my life, the thunderous, make-believe war… infantry opened fire on the deafening artillery” (1-4). He also shows how meaningless and worthless the war finally was: “Now the infantry changed into lowly street sweepers. It’s not a rifle they hold now but a broom. So be it” (6-8). Like Saba many other people living in the time of war were affected emotionally and psychologically by it.
The novel If this is a Man by Primo Levi is an autobiographical novel where Levi describes his experiences at a concentration camp at Auschwitz. The entrance into the camp, the life there, and the liberation by the Red Army are described to show the effects of the war on the citizens and prisoners.
He describes one of the first events on his entrance to the camp, where all the prisoners are stuffed in a room; they are all tired and thirsty but cannot drink out of a faucet because the water is contaminated. “This is hell. Today in our times, hell must be like this” (Levi, 28). Here Levi describes how the Germans soldiers treated the prisoners and the pain these people went through. In another instance, he notices the lack of wind, which is favorable because the prisoners work in cold weather. “Strange, how in some way one always has the impression of being fortunate, how some chance happening, perhaps infinitesimal, stops is crossing the threshold of despair and allows us to live” (Levi, 137). Here he shows that despite all the obstacles one may face, with a small positive occurrence they were able to find hope. After seeing the trial of a rebellious prisoner, Levi says, “To destroy a man is difficult, almost as difficult as to create one: it has not been easy nor quick, but you Germans have succeeded. Here we are, docile under your graze…” (Levi, 156). With this he shows that the German soldiers were able to subdue the prisoners and have them under their complete control. The events and experiences he lived we all inspirations for him and reasons for him to write his novels.
Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is a fiction novel about a “reader” who tries to finish reading a book, but finds that the book is misprinted. When he tries to get another copy, he is given a whole different book altogether. This cycle repeats itself and he faces a book-fraud conspiracy, corrupt governments, and other reasons why the book he is looking for is not found, or the one he is given he is not...

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