The content of the book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl describes the experiences of the Second World War concentration camps. Written directly by an inmate of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, there is a lot of detail in the explanation of the war period. The Nazi Germans were firmly in control of Europe and the Chancellor, Hitler was reforming the social shape of the continent. By using the concentration camps, the Nazis had found an effective way of getting rid of the one race they did not like; the Jews. The contents of this book describe the horrors that were happening within these concentration camps as Germany was exerting its dominance in the world.
As a result of the book being written by an inmate of the concentration camps, the contents of the book also feature a lot of personal experiences. There are a lot of details on the kind of life that the inmates were living within these camps. The writer chronicles the days when he would go without seeing any food or water, watching the people around him fall and die one by one. The personal experiences in the book draw a lot of sympathy from the reader as the writer describes the most horrifying scenarios of the war.
The second part of the book provides an analysis of meaning as it relates to human beings. The writer introduces the concept of logo therapy that attempts to establish the possibility of a normal life after the experiences of a concentration camp. Viktor Frankl takes his own personal experiences into account at this stage as he introduces a relatively new concept to cope with the pressures of life. The book offers new insight into knowledge and certainly is influential in shaping the thoughts of human beings in the modern world.
There are a number of styles that are evident in the book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl. One of them is the use of personal experiences to recount the main points of the book. In fact, this style is dominant throughout both sections of the book and can account for its main theme. The writer looks back at the period when he was an inmate in the concentration camp and uses this knowledge to develop a new theory. Consequently, the book becomes very influential because it touches on real experiences that are unimaginable in the present world.
Another style that the author uses in his book is a remorseful tone to bring up the main concepts. The book has a lot of compunction because the writer looks back at the unfair targeting of his people and their eventual deaths. He does not understand why the Nazis have to be so brutal, but more importantly, why the world is taking too long to respond. The book develops its theories and analysis on the back drop of remorse, and the reader can quickly correspond to the harsh times the writer was going through.
Additionally, the writer makes use of descriptive language in providing details about his stay in the concentration camps and his new theory. The reality of his stay in the concentration camps is unimaginable and will require firsthand details on the reality of the situation. The descriptive language also comes in hand as he introduces and explains the theory of logo therapy. A comprehensive discussion of the new theory is essential to giving it meaning to relate to different situations. This style allows the reader to develop an in depth understanding on the subject in order to relate to Viktor Frankl’s situation.
Considering the book is giving an important and in depth information at a critical point in human history, it has a lot of merit. The descriptions of the horror experiences that the Jews were going through provide a lot of insightful information for the modern day reader. It becomes possible to connect different points in history and develop a general understanding of the past. The book also exhibits its merit as it sheds light on the operations of the Nazi Germans during this period. The volume of historical information provides value to knowledge in the modern day world.
Additionally, there is a lot of merit in the book in the manner in which the writer shares his personal experiences. By fighting his own personal conflicts, the writer provides insightful information about his life and his views at the time. He provides his experiences through three steps; the initial shock at joining the camp, the danger of deformation and, lastly, bitterness. The recounting of his personal experiences is emotional and a courageous act on the part of the writer. It gives meaning to the book as well as the message and theory that the writer communicates to his audience.
It is also intriguing to note that ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl is among the ten most influential books in the United States. A survey by the Library of Congress and Book of the Month Club came to the conclusion that he book would have a large effect on the reader. By linking past experiences to provide a new level of knowledge, the writer achieves progression in an impressive manner. As a result, there were over 24 translations of the book, and Viktor Frankl would see 10 million copies in sales by the time of his death in 1997.
There are a number of crucial passages in the book that provide merit to the main message by the writer. In the beginning of the book, the writer uses the line ‘the salvation of man is through love and in love.’ Viktor Frankl makes use of this passage to counter the main points of Nazism that divide superior races from inferior races. According to the writer, there are only two races of men in the world; indecent men and decent men. This clear division by the writer articulates the unfair treatment they were experiencing at the hands of Hitler’s forces (Frankl 12).
The last passage of the first section provides a lot of insightful information about the inmates. The writer uses this section to provide details about their liberation and the three stages that they go through. This information makes use of a lot of personal experiences of the writer in describing the desperate situations of the inmates. In the end, they come to realize that they cannot achieve true happiness on the basis of the experiences that they have been through. These passages provide strong facts about the depressing future that lies ahead for them.
In the last section of the book, Viktor Frankl shows the eventuality of the situation towards the end of the prisoners’ stay. This is because they will have gone through a lot of personal suffering that they will be unable to suffer any more. The tough experiences will be responsible for shaping a new outlook because they will be able to fear nothing or nobody, ‘except their God.’ By believing in one true God, Viktor Frankl restates that his meaning in life is to help others find their own meaning. This is a selfless act, and he makes use of this passage to round off the main themes of his book.
The book provides a lot of historical information of the injustices of the past and the road for improvement in the future. The book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ prompts the readers into a deeper reflection of their own life and the steps they can take for improvement. Thus, the book is quite emotional as the writer describes their horrifying personal experiences in the concentration camps. The book is certainly influential in demeaning the negative concepts of Nazism and is quick to unite the entire human race as one.
Therefore, the message from this book is that conflict never solves any problem that human beings experience. By subjecting the Jews to improper treatment, the Germans would only worsen their own fate as Hitler would not survive after the Second World War. Human beings should always a find a way to live together and avoid unnecessary conflicts that only demean the current progress. The human races need to embrace each other as one in order to ensure peace, progress and a better tomorrow for future generations.
Frankl, Viktor. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Beacon Press, 2006.