The introduction: the meaning of forgiveness
While analyzing forgiveness in Simon Wiesenthal’s work The Sunflower, I would like to consider some basic points concerning such psychological action or process as forgiveness. So, first of all, I would like to point out that forgiveness is mostly associated with such related matters as mercy or regret, etc.
Of course, the topic, which is to be discussed, is recognized to be an ethical issue. Taking into account the major themes of the book The Sunflower, one is to make a conclusion that such response to atrocities as forgiveness is considered to be the key aspect of humanity. In other words, I suppose that Wiesenthal’s work allows reconsidering the notions of beliefs concerning justice.
Generally, the action or the process of forgiveness is not unusual. Moreover, nobody will deny the fact that all people make mistakes and in most cases, do not consider moral obligations.
However, the most interesting point, which is to be discussed, is the question whether people should forgive everything, or not? The Sunflower is not related to such universal issues as life and death, and the biggest mistake of most of the readers is their confidence that the work reflects the above-mentioned concepts. In my opinion, the author didn’t want to draw the readers’ attention to the interdependence between life and death, but he wanted to show something, which could remind persons of interim issue between the two.
The thesis statement
Simon Wiesenthal’s work The Sunflower seems to have a symbolic meaning. The interdependence between people, who have already died and those ones, who are still alive is recognized to be the key aspect of the author’s work.
The body: the analysis of Simon Wiesenthal’s work
To confirm the thesis statement, I would like to rely on the quotation taken from a review by Ruth Pluznick. Thus, a narrative therapist states that according to Wiesenthal’s book “A sunflower was planted on each grave as straight as a soldier on parade.
Butterflies were moving from one flower to the next, and it seemed to the author that they were carrying messages from one soldier to another” (30). This sentence gives us an idea about the author’s inner state. He was sure that for him there was no opportunity to feel free, there would be no light or butterflies.
The period the author highlights in his work is the Holocaust. In my opinion, Simon Wiesenthal reflected the sufferings of people who experienced Holocaust events. In other words, he depicted cruel reality of the Second World War. Pluznick is of the opinion that “The reader is drawn into a world of unimaginable horrors – extreme deprivation of basic rights and needs, the constant presence of brutality
and degradation and death, the absence of any justice” (30). When analyzing the issues disclosed by the author, one is to make a conclusion that forgiveness is considered to be unnecessary issue. Moreover, I suppose that psychological and political aspects of forgiveness are both to be omitted, while analyzing atrocities. So, the moral right of an individual to forgive for a group is considered to be wrong.
Here, I would like to consider the so-called limits of forgiveness. Much as religion perennially advocates for forgiveness on an infinite scale, repeat offenses can be quite hard to forgive, in light of the fact that the society may construe that the acts are carried out to take advantage of the fact that, the doer of the abominable deed, will always go scot free after seeking pardon for the atrocities committed. Ultimately, every human being has a breaking point beyond which they cannot forgive.
In my opinion, the purpose of forgiveness seems to be for both personalities: the forgiver and the person being forgiven. Although is it mostly appropriate for the one being forgiven, I suppose that the proverb an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth should take place, when speaking about forgiveness.
Generally, the relationship between forgiveness and personal responsibility is another point of discussion. In my opinion, if a person takes decision to punish the aggressor, nobody can speak about responsibility. Responsibility for what??? It is a person’s legal and moral right to take vengeance or retaliate, especially, when speaking about Holocaust.
Don’t you think so? “We were told that everyone in the shtetl, family and neighbors, were rounded up and taken to the edge of the town. They were lined up and shot and buried in a mass grave” (Pluznick 30). So, what responsibility are you talking about??
The conclusion: the right choice
When writing a conclusion, I would like to highlight some points, which are related to moral, social and personal values of forgiveness. Thus, one is to keep in mind that forgiveness is considered to be stress reducing value; however, in spite of the fact that the psychological action provides the forgivers with emotional piece, greater cooperation, or helps to resolve various conflicts, clarifies the choices, etc. don’t you want to teach the enemies a good lesson? Don’t you know that there will be no result, if you turn a blind eye to unjust actions?
Pluznick, Ruth. The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, 2005. Web. 03 March 2012.