Rewriting a Literature

Hopeful for a More Humane World

For the last few centuries, the suffering, such as hunger, war, genocides, and social inequality, that has been in the world can be viewed as a leading cause of pain and misery almost everywhere. The 20th century, for instance, can be considered as one of the most devastating periods. In the first half alone, there was the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, World War I, the Great Depression, the Holocaust, World War II, and the Rwandan genocide, just to mention a few. From an analytical perspective, one could have argued that there was no humanity or any sense of care within the world. Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander provides a view into a world that is becoming more humane but still held back by our past atrocities. It is a book that tries to provide some hope but still questions about its existence, especially with all that has happened to humanity. In as much as we try to change, our past holds us back on countless occasions, as Krugel from Hope: A Tragedy comes to realize.

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When reading the book Hope: A Tragedy by Auslander, one can greatly see the pain in our world. The book’s focus is mainly on the discrimination and persecution of Jews, an aftereffect of the devastating Holocaust that took place in the last century. Although the book takes a rather different approach to mention these problems and how they happened, it still presents a great essence on what our past can do to us. Being born in the USA, particularly New York in 1945, Krugel’s mother feels as if she was a survivor of the Holocaust, and the book keeps on reminding us of this. For instance, in one particular scene within the book, the mother states that Krugel had destroyed his memory of the concentration camps after he smiled while taking a picture there. Within this particular context, we can see a divide in the generation, or what we may refer to as the generation gap. On one side, Krugel’s mother saw the devastating effects of the Holocaust and got to experience the period as she was born right after it ended. Krugel, on the other hand, was born some few years back, but still, there are the aftereffects of the disaster. Nonetheless, the fact that they can visit the concentration camps and take pictures shows signs of a world attributing to its mistakes and becoming more humane.

It is only through looking back to where we are from that we can understand how much our world has changed. Many historical accounts provide us with the exact events that happened within our history. One of these particular accounts is in Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Frank’s account played a key role in presenting the pain and suffering that humanity caused within the last century. Auslander uses this to compare how the world is changing. At only 13 years, Frank’s family, who were Jews, had to hide to avoid prosecution (Frank). Fast forward to the current period, we can see Anne Frank still in hiding for fear of another event that will lead to the persecution of Jews all over again. Understanding the generation gap within the book Hope: A Tragedy is vital in presenting humanity’s changing face and focusing on more humane and accommodative living. The Anne Frank presented in the book by Auslander and Krugel’s mother have almost similar mindsets as far as the world’s state is concerned. However, Krugel and the younger generation have a different view, which is the only way our world can heal.

Although not mentioned quite much, Krugel’s brother-in-law plays a vital role in presenting the changing world’s essence. He can be considered to be among the leading reasons or factors that showcase a healing world that is becoming more humane, caring, and less violent. The character, a scholar, can be compared to the older generation to get a clear picture of people’s current views based on their ages. Unlike the old Anne Frank and Krugel’s mother, he views the word as becoming positive, and truth be told, it is changing quite a lot. We are getting better but not to the point of perfection. Professor Jove is also another character within the context that does not believe in hope. As Professor Jove explains,

We are rational creatures; hope is irrational. We thus set ourselves up for one dispiriting fall after the next. Anger and depression are not diseases or dysfunctions or anomalies; they are perfectly rational responses to the myriad avoidable disappointments that begin in a thoroughly irrational hope.  (Auslander)

The fact that there is a peaceful and faraway place from the quickly changing world within the text shows how much we have changed, and that is what we ought to focus on. By presenting this positivism theme, Auslander creates an avenue to compare ourselves with and try to change what we are doing wrong. In a way, the book can be considered as a mirror. An object that allows us to look at ourselves and change what we do not like or what appears to be wrong.

The book also presents how much history can be impactful and what we can do to change what happened. Growing up, Solomon Krugel was a person who was often suffocated by history. As Solomon states.

I spent the best years of my life atoning for something I didn’t do, something my parents didn’t do, something done just about before I was ever born. I got no complaints with that, but I’m about all atoned out, and I ain’t yet gotten round to atoning for the things I did do. (Auslander)

His childhood could have been considered one of those that grew up with the constant reminder that there could be a threat of tragedy. More so, this happened because his mother was a Jew, and being born right after the Holocaust, could have indeed felt like she had escaped it. One quote within the book shows the mother’s view of the past. Krugel asks her about the lampstand beside her bed, and she replies, “That’s your grandfather” (Auslander). The grandfather had died in the Holocaust, but the lampstand was made in Taiwan. As such, when Krugel protests about it, she tells him, “…they’re not going to write Made in Buchenwalk, are they?” (Auslander). Such comments showcase the hold that history has on us, and it is from this that Krugel wants a better life for his son. He opts to move to a town that has nothing and is quiet. However, despite this, history still follows him, as he discovers Ann Frank hiding in an attic for around 60 years now. In human history, the holocaust and slavery are among some of the most extreme events to have ever happened. As seen within the context of Dessa Rose, by Anne Williams, the African Americans went through a lot of suffering. At the time of the narrative, Dessa was pregnant, having lost her soulmate and living only because she was pregnant (Williams). Such pain may sway away one’s reason for hope, but times have changed.

Humor within the text is considered vital in building our view of a changing world. Auslander, all through the text, treads carefully between humor and offensiveness. Nonetheless, he also presents a very important point that is significant for humanity’s prosperity and a provision of hope. As much as we have been through pain, we ought to focus on survival, which builds upon hope. Auslander’s argument within the text is that we should not focus mainly on the hierarchy of victimhood but rather cherish that we survived and use that as a triumph to develop towards the next aspect or strength. Understanding its importance will provide a better view of how much hope the book presents and how much more humane the world has become. Even though an arsonist is burning through houses within the town that Krugel moves his family, its quietness and tranquility ought to present exactly how far the world has come. This book presents humanity’s essence and the exact path that we ought to take from a historical perspective. Assessing or looking at it from the perspective of our current state, we can see the changes. The world has become more connected, more concerned, and even more aware, building hope. There are international bodies that enforce peace and health, such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization. All these are signs of hope, and despite the book’s satirical nature, these are the aspects that it tries to put across (Stamos).

In conclusion, hope can be viewed as a very important tool when it realizes the virtue of being humane. The author adopts a humorous tone to try and put across some very important points and, in doing so, makes his point known. It follows the life of Solomon Krugel, an American who is overshadowed by history as he tries to escape and live a peaceful life. His mother, being born only a year after the Holocaust, is among the representations of the past’s pain on humanity. She keeps a lampshade to represent her father, who was killed in the Holocaust. Additionally, she also makes some remarks that align with the fact that there has been so much suffering in the past, such as visiting the concentration camps. Anne Frank’s presentation, one of history’s most notable authors, and her situation where she was hiding in the attic for fear of second persecution of the Jews. The older generation’s views are quite important in presenting hope for the changing world, as seen through the eyes of Krugel, brother-in-law, and other young characters. The book presents a very important lesson towards getting a more detailed and humane future. Inclusion, forgiveness, and still learning from our past mistakes should be among the leading ways humanity needs to fix the world. By so doing, we stand a better chance of living in peace and happiness.

Works Cited

Auslander, Shalom. Hope: A Tragedy. Picador, 2012.

Frank, Anne. The diary of a young girl. No. 333. Everyman’s Library, 2010.

Stamos, David N. Myth of universal human rights: Its origin, history, and explanation, along with a more humane way. Routledge, 2015.

Williams, Anne. Dessa Rose. 2015, Accessed 7 Dec 2020.





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