Critical Lens

1 January 2017

Michelle Veliz Period 7 4/27/12 Critical Lens Essay A famous author named Richard Wright once said, “All literature is a protest”. In simpler terms, books have been written to raise awareness about problems in order for humans to find solutions for them. This quote is true because in most works of literature the author makes their characters go through difficult obstacles to overcome that not everyday people go through. The book Night was written to protest against anti-Semitism, which means hatred towards Jews. This book took place during the Holocaust where times were hard and unforgettable for the Jews.

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The main character Elie takes the reader on a grieving journey where he describes his accounts from the Holocaust where he was mistreated and was seen as an outsider. On the other hand, the book Animal Farm by George Orwell was written to alert the world about totalitarian leaders and perplexed people. Totalitarian leaders had control over society, which gave them the right to mistreat their people and abuse their power. Napoleon who was the main villain of Animal Farm was in charge over the farm. He called himself the owner and the ones who were less powerful his slaves.

The animals weren’t given any power because they were perplexed. They easily let Napoleon become superior over them. Overall, both of these texts Night and Animal Farm demonstrate that writing literature is used to raise awareness about world problems. Wiesel protests anti-Semitism in Elle’s accounts as a prisoner from Auschwitz. Since Elie was a Jew, he never got any special type of treatment from the Nazi soldiers at the concentration camp. Instead the Nazi soldiers always thought of ways to torture the Jews for no important reason.

Surprisingly, even if the Nazi soldiers hated the Jews they gave them a few pieces of bread to eat. However, once these Jews stopped receiving bread they had to eat the unimaginable things nobody thought they would eat. In one particular scene from the book, Elie recalls he had to eat dirty snow from ground in order to stay alive. In this situation, Orwell was able to protest anti-Semitism because all the Jews at the camp were being mistreated unfairly. The Nazis were able to show their hatred by giving nothing to eat and letting the Jews die slowly. If the Jews wanted to save themselves they had to things no ther normal human would do. In addition, by Wiesel including this scene in the book the readers would notice how much pain and agony the Jews went through. Besides seeing the pain these Jews went through, the readers will be able to see that the only foolish reason the Jews were beat up is because they were Jewish. Similar to this event, Wiesel also protests anti-Semitism when the SS . Similarly, Orwell shows this when the animals caught Squealer changing the Ten Commandments. They saw that he fell from a ladder, and that there were buckets of paint surrounding him.

When the animals read the commandments they realized that there was an alteration, but they believed that they misread it the first time. Orwell was protesting totalitarian leaders because Napoleon had all the central power. He had all the authority to change the commandments to his own convenience even if it was inconvenient for the other animals. His influence towards the animals was so great that they were ignorant. The animals were ignorant because they caught Squealer right at the scene, yet they would never doubt his actions.

Instead they were blaming themselves for not reading carefully. The animals thought that they misinterpreted things. Overall, Orwell’s novel was challenging totalitarians and ignorance. Another novel that proves that writing is a form of questioning is the novel I, Juan de Pareja. During the novel Elizabeth Borton de Trevino questions slavery. She protests slavery when Master paints a portrait of Juan. Once it’s complete Juan sneaks away with it to show it to the Duke. The Duke offers him money and throws him a coin, but Juan refuses to pick it up unless the Duke gives it to him in his hand.

The author was protesting slavery because Juan did not allow himself to be degraded. Even though he was a slave he showed that he had dignity. He wasn’t satisfied with the coin because he did not bend down to pick it up. Instead he maintained his place, and only received the money once it was handed to him. This shows that Juan made the Duke treat him like any other human being and not a slave. The author also protests slavery when Juan confesses to Master that he has been painting. Master’s response was to make Juan a free man, so that he would be able to paint.

He immediately wrote the letter for Juan, and Master made him his assistant. This shows slavery being questioned because Juan was no longer a slave. Master gave Juan his respective place that slaves didn’t deserve to have. He had given him a better opportunity by making him his assistant. This shows that Master treated Juan as an equal because he would be able to paint by his side without having any worries. Juan was entitled to the same things as Master. He was no longer a slave, but a friend to him. The novel protests slavery which proves that writing is used to question something.

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