Professor Lisa Smith
March 13, 2012
“This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen”
Tadeusz Borowski’s essay “This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” is an emotional story that shows how a man breaks under adversity, and how this man deals with the horrors and chaos during the holocaust. The story is openly filled with sarcasm and confusion, the author’s intention is to keep the reader off-balance and agitated about the events that the characters must endure in order to survive. The way the author presents himself and manifests his feelings is important in achieving that sense of unsteadiness and tension that ultimately will aid the reader understand and react to the story.
Borowski presents himself in two main ways throughout his essay: The first, as a sarcastic but detached narrator; and the second, as the prisoner attempting to survive. The author narrates the story from a first-person point of view, keeping a distant attitude although slightly touched by the horrors he describes. Borowski sticks to his habits as a journalist attempting to be an impartial observer without losing his poetic side in the description of the events and his usage of words. As a narrator, the author sees the irony in the habits which the prisoners must obey and that are completely devoid of purpose, such as working. All prisoners know they must work, nevertheless, they know they’ll die eventually in the same way other prisoners have. His sarcasm is accompanied by a strong sensitivity that is reflected in the richness of detail and description of his surroundings. The intense descriptions allow the reader to be more involved with the story, making the mental images more precise, “Around us sit the Greeks, their jaws working greedily, liker huge human insects. They munch on stale lumps of bread.” (Page 35) he attempts to make the reader relate to some of the events by using simple analogies and comparisons between his experience and the outside world....