My Final Words On War

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My Final Words on War At the beginning of Humanities Core in fall quarter, my understanding of war was primarily centered around soldiers and how killing others permanently scarred them, often leading to post-traumatic stress disorder. Being a Cognitive Sciences major, I am naturally interested in how extreme situations such as war affect people’s psychology. However, my focus drifted in an entirely new direction, towards civilians in wartime (See: Tags), as the year progressed and my view of war became more complex. Meryl Streep in a production of Mother Courage and Her Children ( Early in fall quarter, I became particularly interested in the distinction between history from above and history from below. Whereas I…show more content…
I noticed that other works of literature, plays, films, and the like similarly denied the audience closure or a way to identify with characters in order to force them to think about—rather than feel for—what is portrayed. For instance, Ruth Kluger’s Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered (2003), an autobiographical account of Kluger’s experience in Auschwitz, rejects the idea of sentimentality so readers will be able to critically think about the Holocaust. My research artifact, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), similarly isolates viewers with its absurdity and lack of closure so they can consider the implications of the Vietnam War. I also found propaganda very interesting. Unlike the aforementioned examples, propaganda exploits emotion and national pride in order to suspend thought and manipulate the masses. Before taking Humanities Core, I only thought of propaganda’s function in an oppressive regime, such as in Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany. However, as the year went on, I learned how widespread and insidious propaganda can be. For instance, it was used to increase anti-Communist sentiment during the Cold War and, more recently, to desensitize Americans to the use of torture. Although it is generally agreed that the media has a huge influence on people’s expectations and beliefs, Humanities Core cited concrete examples, which helped my understanding of the prevalence of propaganda. For instance, in
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