Nature of human suffering

Nature of human suffering


respond to a minimum of three of the
following question items. No need to repeat the question, just indicate the
number of the item and begin. Feel free to write a more narrative essay if you
wish to do so. Of course, after meeting the requirements of the assignment, you
may write about any aspect of the movie or subject matter you wish.  After posting your Reaction Essay, read the


1.  The film begins with a Jewish family
performing the traditional Sabbath ritual (Friday evening). The scene ends with
the blowing out of a candle. Note the symbolic meaning of the smoke lingering.

2. Attend to the early scene in which selected Jews are uniformed to assist in the
processing of Jews for “transportation” (or to work in Schindler’s factory). In
the Zimbardo Prison Studies, Zimbardo
utilized the expertise of several rehabilitated ex-convicts. They worked as
consultants in creating the simulation. In the original tapes made during the
actual study, a “parole hearing” for one of the imprisoned students is enacted,
with the consulting former inmates serving as members of the “Parole Board.” Many
of the consultants found themselves berating, demeaning and generally degrading
the “prisoners” who were being considered for “parole.” In psychodynamic terms,
this is called “identifying with the aggressor.” This phenomenon is also seen
in hostage situations.

Reaction Essay Items:

1.  How would you account for Schindler’s
transformation? Can you pinpoint the time or event at which that transformation

2.  The movie should provoke considerable
reflection and discussion on the nature of human suffering, as well
as about those who are determined to amplify
that suffering, profit or gain from
it, or are indifferent to it.

3.  Another social group that merits
attention and reflection are those who
adapt to their status as victims and survive by identifying with their

film is also about the nature and uses of
prejudice, ethnic hatred, scape-goating, persuasion via the “big lie”
technique, and what we now call “ethnic cleansing.” 
There is an intense
scene toward the end of the film in which the Commandant is taunting and
terrifying the young Jewish woman he uses as a house-servant. He explains that
he must hate and kill Jews “in order to get rid of the Jew inside himself.”
What do you believe he is saying, and how is that related to other forms of
group hatred and ethnic or group violence?

5.  Adolf Hitler was clearly a transformational leader. Why was he so
appealing to so many Germans and other ethnic groups in Europe? How can one judge
if a transformational leader is a force for social good or social evil?

6.  If “your group” became a target for
“social cleansing,” how would you respond? What do you envision as your