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The impact of World War II on human behaviors and moral valu

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Bahia Trungadi Perego

on 3 June 2014

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Transcript of The impact of World War II on human behaviors and moral valu

The impact of World War II on human behaviors and moral values in The Siege, by Helen Dunmore
The Siege Of Leningrad
The Siege
, by Helen Dunmore
Investigation
What is it?
On September 8, 1941, after Nazi Germany broke its non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, German troops fully encircled the city of Leningrad cutting off all supply routes and the siege began.
Facts
The siege lasted for a total of 900 days, from September 8 1941 until January 27 1944.
There was no fuel, no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity and very little food.
The city's food rations reached an all time low of only 125 grams of bread per person per day.
At least 641,000 people died of cold or starvation in Leningrad during the Siege
History in pictures
Purpose of the writer
Fictional story within the historical background
This story focuses on a family consisting of the main character Anna, her father Mikhail, and her little brother Kolya. Anna´s mother, Vera, died during Kolya´s birth and now Anna has taken the burden of supporting her family, despite her youth. As the story develops we get to know Marina Pretovna, young Mikhail´s lover, and Andrei, a sweet caring trainee doctor that starts a relationship with Anna.
Research question
To what extent were peoples´ moral values and behaviors affected in a negative way by World War II in The Siege by Helen Dunmore?
Why did I choose this book?
This novel is excellent in achieving an inner view of the historical facts. What I wanted to accomplish with my investigation is that people could realize that the number of casualties or the historical dates are not at all the relevant things that surround a war and this story overtakes this is an incredible way. The reader accomplishes a huge empathy with the characters during their daily struggles against hunger and cold.
Hunger and cold
The greatest struggles of the individuals are against these two.
Before the war breaks out in the novel, Anna dreams of General Hunger and General Winter, who meet and speak, and realize that although both have great power and control over the people of the land, neither can survive or have any effect without the other.
Finally they decide to work together: "What one of us misses, the other can take care of. Together, we will be invincible." and this agreement foreshadows all the people that died from cold and hunger.
From new to normal
“War doesn´t belong here, in the country. War. Everything will change.”
“You find yourself doing things you´d never have thought you could do.”
“Everything becomes normal so quickly”
“Nothing seems surprising any more, not even the bodies piled […] outside the cemeteries”
“Being dead is normal”

Trust Issues
“Was Marina generous, or self-interested? Was she manipulating Anna, or trying to help her?”
“We don´t trust one another. We have to suspect everyone”
“But suspicion lights in the woman´s blurred, starved eyes. It could be a trick, to steal her place in the queue.”
“These are hard times. You can´t trust anyone, not even yourself”
Location
Helen Dunmore didn´t want to write an overview of this catastrophe, she wanted an inner view, a story in which the readers can feel involved and really get into the characters’ shoes, challenging them to imagine what they would do in the same extreme circumstances.
Violence and ration cards
“Without a ration card, you die.”
“Ration cards are not like gold: they are so far above gold that you can´t even make the comparison.”
“If someone tried to rob her, she would hit them”
“People collapse in the street, and straight away there´s someone else on top of them, going through their pockets for bread or a ration card.”

"I watched my father and mother die - I knew perfectly well they were starving. But I wanted their bread more than I wanted them to stay alive. And they knew that about me too. That's what I remember about the blockade: that feeling that you wanted your parents to die because you wanted their bread."
source: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/siege_of_leningrad.htm
People weren't themselves anymore
“That´s it. You know you´re changing, but you still think you can find the way back to what you used to be. Then one day you know you can´t”
“You ought to be thinking of all the poor souls who lost their lives in the raids, but you can´t help thinking about all that butter and flour and God knows what else they kept down there”
“She wanted to keep the baby at home with her […] She´s not herself anymore”
“We should all be frightened of one another these days. And we should be frightened of ourselves”
Life lost its value
“The problem is that when so many are dying, the death penalty loses its edge”
“To stay alive it´s not enough, if everything else has gone”
“It hurts because you´re not dead yet”
“Cats, crows, dogs and pigeons have all been eaten. People are eating rats, and rats are eating people”
“We may have eaten all the real rats, but we´ve still got the human ones around”
“Anyone who looks like a speculator, they just get shot. […]No more questions: bang.”
Cannibalism
“People whisper of corpses with missing limbs, and of children who disappear. They say there are cannibals trading in the Sennaya market now, hawking unidentifiable meat pâté”
Sacrifice and protection
Example:
Anna. Despite her weakness, she was the one in charge of collecting the daily food rations of all of them, she went to trade and acquire the stove and even got herself in danger for having wood.
“An old woman […] lies alone, although at her side there is a half-drunk glass of tea made for her by a neighbor the day before.” Sign of cooperation and caring between neighbors
While things were getting worse, families were getting closer; their bond became stronger with every obstacle they had to go through. “Marina, my father, Andrei, Kolya, me. We can´t separate now, even if we wanted to.”
"They are a unit, in spite of everything. If they´re going to survive, they´ll only survive together”
Conclusion
I arrived at the conclusion that there were both
negative
and
positive
effects on peoples’ moral values and behaviors. Despite the fact that clearly this was a terrible massacre that altered many aspects of these individuals´ lives, including trust, feelings, personalities, humanity and even arrive to a point where they didn´t even recognize themselves because of their thoughts and decisions towards what was happening, they also manifested good reactions. In some cases, they were capable of sharing and sacrificing for their families or friends. Selfishness didn’t become everyone´s main characteristic. Many worked together and cared about the other. Their moral values were not completely affected by the situation.
Alumna: Bahia Trungadi Perego
Tutora: Marta Jimena
Materia: English B Literature

A starving man holds
his daily ration in his hand.
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