Analysis Of Primo Levi 's Butterfly Auschwitz And Ta Nehisi Coates ' The Beautiful Struggle

1858 WordsDec 19, 20168 Pages
In Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Beautiful Struggle, both authors provide first person accounts of the adversity they faced, detailing the emotional, psychological, and physical hardships they endured. Primo Levi recounts the ten months he spent living in a Nazi death camp. While radically different, but thematically similar, Coates addresses growing up as a young black boy in west Baltimore. As a result of their environments, both men were forced to adopt a way of life with a central focus on survival. In the following essay I intend to argue that certain aspects of the Stoic conception of attaining Eudaimonia can be applied and positively affect an individual during trying times. However, attempting to achieve Eudaimonia is futile when one lives in a state dedicated to survival, and contrary to Stoic belief, emotions such as anger can positively contribute to one’s ability overcome adversity which in itself bars people from reaching this end goal of a good life. Stoicism offers optimism and reinforcement of self-worth, providing mental strength often needed in times of the worst possible suffering. In his Handbook, Epictetus suggests that man believes that certain innate “things that are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, our impulses, desires, aversions – in short whatever is our own doing” (Epictetus, ch1). He contends such elements of the individual are “by nature free, unhindered, and unimpeded,” thus
Open Document