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A Powerful Idea and a Prominent Action in The Novels Unbroken and Maus

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The world is strongly impacted by the thoughts, ideas, and imagination of the human race. People constantly wonder, dream, and think,while some have even tried to turn their ideas into reality. Because of this, many events have occurred that are now renowned as historical feats. Of course, not all ideas have manifested into reality, but those who do manage to achieve this end eventually change history in a certain way. The extent to which history is changed is based on the strength of a person’s idea, and the performance it leads to.I believe that all of the significant moments in history have involved a powerful idea becoming a prominent action, as shown by the performance of certain groups and individuals in the novels Maus And Unbroken, two novels that take place during World War II.

During the Holocaust, the Germans and even the Poles behaved very cruelly towards to the Jews due to their belief that the Jews were an inferior race. The prominent idea of Jewish inferiority is displayed as actions in Maus I when Vladek tells Art that “The mothers always told so: ‘Be careful! A Jew will catch you to a bag and eat you!’ so they taught to their children” (Spiegelman 149). As can be deduced from Vladek’s words, the Poles and Germans viewed Jews as bad people, and even taught their children to stay away from them. This view of Jews by Poles and Germans was a strong ideal that supported their action of teaching others, such as their children, that the Jews are an inferior people. The discriminating outlook towards Jews and the actions following it are major factors that led to and sustained the Holocaust, a very dreadful and powerful moment in history. In Maus II, when Vladek is describing the showers, he says that “Zyklon B, a pesticide, [was] dropped into hollow columns” and that “…it was between 3 and 30 minutes…[until] soon was nobody anymore alive” (Spiegelman 71).Vladek’s mentioning of the Zyklon B pesticide used to kill the Jews in the showers shows how the Nazis regarded the Jews as not just similar to vermin, but as vermin. This treatment of the Jews as animals by the Germans was one of the many horrible things that defined the Holocaust of World War II. In the end, to the Germans, Jews were simply a race that did not deserve to exist, and they manifested their thoughts into the abominable actions that characterized the Holocaust, one of the grimmest events in history.

Greatly horrendous events in history are not the only ones that involve strong performance through ideas; brilliant events in history such as the story of Louie Zamperini have emerged through the strength of the mind and actions. In Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken, Louie is described as fearless, “thrilled by the crashing of boundaries… [and] untamable” (Hillenbrand 6), traits which allowed him to reach great heights and keep on going, such as when he obtained seventh place in the Olympics (Hillenbrand 36) and survived both a crash into the Pacific and the Japanese POW camps during World War II (Hillenbrand 131-336). All of these achievements were able to happen only because of who Louie was; he channeled his powerful determination, his strong ideals, and the motivation he got from his brother into actions that would affect himself and the world around him. His passionate willpower and resolve prove that the wonderful events in history he created or was a part of we’re all influenced by a performance he had strengthened with his ideas. Louie’s strength of mind is truly portrayed when he refuses to break under the harsh conditions created by the “Bird,” a sadistic man who was the epitome of the evil performed by the Japanese in the POW camps(Hillenbrand 236-306). Despite many beatings and cruel treatment by the “Bird,” Louie did not break because he believed that he would one day return home to see his family again. This determination allowed him to survive no matter what happened to him, a feat that not many could achieve. Louie Zamperini’s life, a truly great moment in history, is significant because Zamperini Was capable of channeling his ideas into achievements.

However, some may claim that history was not affected by actions supported by ideas in any way. For instance, some would say that the Germans’ and Poles’ hatred of Jews merely stemmed from a fear of being isolated from a society under Hitler where the Jews are excluded, rather than the belief that Jews were inferior, and acted based upon that. This point can be looked at as true, but only if the brutal actions of the Germans and Poles are taken out of account. The reason for this is because even though the Germans and Poles may have feared and obeyed Hitler’s every word, they may have still felt pity for the Jews that were being killed and put in horrible conditions. However, nearly all Germans and some Poles did not, and instead contributed to the harsh conditions of the Jews by beating them and speaking of them as if they were trash. Therefore, the Germans and Poles did act out of their own belief that the Jews were inferior, and not solely because of the opinion of Hitler. In Louie Zamperini’s case, some may claim that his life story was a great event in history not because of his actions that were bolstered by his ideas, but because of the people around him, such as his brother, who pushed him to run when he would’ve given up, like when “…Pete was all over Louie, forcing him to train, then dragging him to the track to run a second meet” (Hillenbrand 15). This point is credible because without Pete, Louie wouldn’t have had the determination or motivation to do track. Even though Louie may not have started running without Pete’s guide, the rest of the work that he did was all of his own merit. Louie’s hard work that arose from his newfound love for running and his determination to continue on contributed to most of his achievements in his life. Although some people may believe that performance based on ideas did not contribute to all truly great moments in history, it is apparent that the actions supported by ideas, in one way or another, ended up being the largest factor of all significant events in history.

All major moments in history have involved a performance facilitated by a powerful idea that an individual or group has come up with. The definition then, of a great moment in history, would be the manifestation of an idea into reality. Those who use their beliefs and ideals to shape the world are considered great, either in a good or a bad sense. The power of ideas continues to shape our world today; those in the present continue on, pushing their thoughts and beliefs onto others and the world. However, not all people succeed. The only way for an idea to turn into a great moment in history is when it becomes so powerful, so motivating, and so inspiring that it causes the one who thought of the idea to act, influence others, and become prominent. In this way, brilliant and horrible people emerge, and after their great historical moment passes, one will tell their tale for centuries.

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