Interrupted Life and Letters Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1410 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

That takes something altogether different. You have to make yourself passive then, and just listen. Reestablish contact with a slice of eternity."

She understood that joy and suffering were both parts of the same experience. She was courageous in the face of obstacles and demonstrated little fear. "Somewhere there is something inside of me that will never desert me again," she proclaimed.

As her circumstances became more horrifying, her compassion seemed to increase. She spent no energy despising the Nazis. "True peace," she said, "will come only when every individual find peace within himself; when we all have vanquished and transformed our hatred for our fellow human beings of whatever race -- even into love one day, although perhaps that it asking too much. It is however, the only solution."

Her lack of hatred toward the Germans was not because they did not deserve it. She simply chose not to release more hostility into the universe. However, she wrote that "the absence of hatred in no way implies the absence of moral indignation." It continues to amaze me that she was able to record such powerful words in such a powerless situation. She reveals in her diaries what kept her alive, not just what made her suffer.

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As I read this passage, about her lack of malice, I think of driving to work the other day. I was upset because I could not find a parking place and I was going to be late for my haircut. I heave a great sigh as I write this. How foolish to agonize over such trivia! What a waste of the moment! I am feeling grateful that I have hair to cut, appreciative for my used car, and thankful for another day.

Term Paper on Interrupted Life and Letters From Assignment

As I think about the joy and privilege in my life, my thoughts stray to the other side of the world where still another war is raging. Innocent people are likely praying at this moment that a missile from an American bomber does not miss its target and blow up their home and kill their children or their neighbors or their neighbor's children. I think about the people that jumped to their death from the World Trade Center in order to escape the inferno. These people had mothers and siblings and friends. Are they able see the joy in life with Etty Hillesum's acuity? Do they understand the process they are going through?

Her last diary entry began with the statement, "We should be willing to act as a balm for all wounds." She had evolved from a young woman with the qualities of sensitivity and benevolence to an enlightened being. Her confidence shines as the diary opens, but it is her wisdom that is most preeminent as the book comes to an end.

Etty Hillesum has experienced a catharsis that is described in many holy books and religious studies. She transformed herself into the beautiful lotus flower that grows from the muck and mire of the swamp. She has taken the poison that life dealt her and changed it into medicine. She was able to look deeply into the turbulent water and see the jewels on the ocean floor.

Most of the Holocaust literature recounts the suffering, inhumanity, and destruction. Hillesum's portrayal is not void of the excruciating reality, but actualizes the hope and humanity that every moment of life holds. She was constantly aware of her obligation to the people around her and the people that will follow her. She struggled to be the "thinking heart of the barracks" in the midst of a war that was seeking to exterminate her people. I felt her presence and a nuance of her experience when I read the following passage:

"We must surrender all that is dearest to us in the enjoyment of the senses and go through a dark night in which we live without their help and comfort. Then when this is accomplished, we have to sacrifice even our thoughts and our choices, and undergo a still darker night - deprived of our familiar supports. This is a kind of death . . . And when all has been strained away, our emptiness will… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Interrupted Life and Letters" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Interrupted Life and Letters.  (2002, February 15).  Retrieved September 21, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Interrupted Life and Letters."  15 February 2002.  Web.  21 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Interrupted Life and Letters."  February 15, 2002.  Accessed September 21, 2020.