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The Shield of Compliancy

As widely assumed, to be free is one of the most desired states a human can strive for,
consciously or not. What freedom is defined as, however, varies; particularly in the way it can be
attained. Some, such as the American essayist, H.L. Mencken, refer to safety as prevalence over
freedom for the common human, saying, The average man does not want to be free. He simply
wants to be safe. Shortly, the implementation of this statement in situations such as in the novel,
Night, and the collection of short stories, This way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen will
give a supported background to this claim along with an examination of the general overview of
society in its course throughout time and the individuals that wave it along.
The novel Night by Elie Wiesel is a renowned account of the Holocaust in its cruel
reality. Through reading the book one can observe that in certain situations, the losses that result
from freedom and safety go hand in hand, whereas during other times, they can lead to polar
paths determining ones life or death. Two things audiences usually remember most are the
beginning and the end. At the beginning of the novel, the Jews first lose their freedom. Two
sentences in particular demonstrate a phenomenal point, The barbed wire which fenced us in
did not cause us any real fear. We even thought ourselves rather well off; we were entirely selfcontained. Here, the liberty to travel had been lost by the Jews, yet they were satisfied because
they were safe. Taking a leap to the end of the book, Eliezer writes, Our first act as free men
was to throw ourselves onto the provisions. There was no immediate satisfaction, there was
only need. That need was to eat. Being freed, on so many levels, does not provide immediate
fulfillment. When a slave is liberated, they are not accompanied with necessities, their burden or
captivity is simply lifted. Therefore, being that humans naturally strive to keep living, safety

provides assurance, while freedom may provide nothing more than an open prairie that doesnt
hold the needed resources to survive or a voting ballot that lists only corrupt dictators as
Another occasion where freedom leads to the enslavement is in the mere fragments of
liberation that tugged at those who were persecuted and taken to concentration camps during the
Holocaust. In This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen, Tadeusz Borowski depicts this in
his story when the wave of the People loaded down with luggage pours from the train like a
blind, mad river trying to find a new bed. But before they have a chance to recoverbundles are
snatched from their hands, coats ripped off their backs, their purses and umbrellas taken away.
The severity of the fast pace in this sequence is very compatible with the point of gaining
freedom but losing safety. As they were finally able to step out of the train, they lost their
belongings. The mention of umbrellas shapes the whole meaning of the concept of being in rain,
and having ones own little means of keeping dry taken away so swiftly. It nearly represents how
a bit of freedom is a gamble. Compliancy, however, could mean safety in the conditions of these
camps. If one was to fit the criteria that determined eligibility for work, than that, in turn, meant
one had developed a shield, in which they would fight the odds that combated them.
Perhaps man strives for that reassuring safety, yet through the wrong method. Is safety an
opportunity that we have the freedom to choose? With such a broad spectrum there is no exact
answer, other than that it has been shown that safety can be attained through freedom. Mahatma
Gandhi makes the bold statement of, Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the
freedom to make mistakes. Therefore, perhaps the risk and the genuine exhilaration attained
with freedom is what makes it desirable. History exclaims countless examples of times when
freedom was pursued even when it meant death, such as the torture that women endured during

the Womens Rights Movement as they pursued equal suffrage. Under this passion, safety wont
find its home in the true desires of all men and women. For even further debate, an average
man is at the very least, still very different from all the men around him in terms of
circumstance both past and present. Some people stockpile food and spend their money in
construction of preparedness, and others whisk it away for the pleasure of the freedom to simply
be able to do just that. Whatever the matter, safety can be placed on a mind determined not to be
sane, and freedom can be placed in a breath of air. Its the extent to which man lives his life and
pursues toward or untowardly that he may find himself being categorized under an honest intent.
In conclusion, both Night and This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen illustrate
that when freedom harbors doubts of fulfillment, man seeks not that, but safety, through its
general entirety of complex ranges and intensities.

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