Gates of the Forest & Malcolm X
Gates of the Forest & Malcolm X
Throughout the existence of civilizations there have been many horrifying and destructive events that have caused great pain and anguish for millions of people and generated different views and beliefs to the populations of the world. Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust which was one of the most horrifying acts of human behavior in history. Wiesel was able to express his experiences and views on existence by writing novels about his journey through this part of his life. In his novel Gates of the Forest he establishes an interesting view of existence. One form is a sacred existence in which accepting truth one becomes closer to the sacred. The other form is a profane existence in which one does not accept the truth and becomes ignorant. Wiesel has created a duel form of existence which is exhibited by the characters in this novel.
In the Gates of the Forest there is an underline theme of friendship which the characters demonstrate. Friendship is the result of a strengthen relationship that involves mutual knowledge, affection, respect and honesty given to each person. The traits of friendship are very similar to that of a sacred existence as described by Weisel. Friendship relays on knowledge, truth and also the overall acceptance of that person. This is similar to Weisel’s idea that acceptance of truth, friendship and knowledge one is brought closer to the sacred. Throughout the course of the novel a friendship between Gavriel and Gregor is formed. Gavriel first becomes Gregor’s friend and says “I’ll protect you; I’ll be your shadow.” (Weisel 26) Gavriel is allowing himself to be strong for Gregor, then Gavriel goes on to tell Gregor what a friend is since Gregor has really never had a friend.
“And what is a friend? More than a father, more than a brother: a traveling companion, with him, you can conquer the impossible, even if you must lose it later. Friendship marks life even more deeply than love. Love risks degenerating into obsession, friendship is never anything but sharing.” (Weisel 26-27)
Gavriel is trying to show Gregor a sacred existence by allowing Gregor to accept the truth that his father is not going to return to the cave which they both fled to when the Germans first arrived. This then allows Gregor to also accept that he is the only survivor from his family because of the Holocaust. Before Gavriel found or was friends with Gregor, Gregor was living in a profane existence in that cave. Weisel describes people who live in a profane existence as ignorant people living in the shadows. The cave was Gregor’s shadow and by not accepting the truth about his family or the enlightening friendship he shares with Gavriel he wouldn’t be able to reach the sacred existence. An important difference to notice about the duel existences described by Weisel is that in a profane existence one does not live, because without accepting truth one is living a lie. After one is accepted into a sacred existence by understanding truth, friendship and knowledge then one can be able to live. In the quote above, friendship marks life that is one of the reasons why it is apart of the