Art is impactful and can evoke all types of emotions

Art is impactful and can evoke all types of emotions. Art impacts our collective understandings and provides important shared experiences and symbols that shape society the film Schindler’s List, directed by Steven Spielberg, displays this perfectly by taking the reader through a host of emotions including shock, sorrow, and hope. It is a true story, following the life Oskar Schindler a Nazi business man and factory owner, who saves the lives of over a thousand Jewish people by employing them in his factories during the Holocaust. This film depicts a very important story about an incredibly catastrophic time in the world. Like many great works of art, this movie portrays a story that doesn’t just pull on the heart strings but also teaches us as well.
Schindler’s List is a perfect example of how powerful storytelling can be. While the Holocaust was a catastrophic and traumatizing event in human history, developing an understanding of the times is very complex. Seeing this film about this historic event helps us to understand what really happened during the Holocaust. Visualizing how millions of Jews died can be a more powerful and moving experience than simply reading disembodied stories and articles about the time. When watching a movie, we tend to get a little bit more emotionally invested, inserting ourselves into the lives of the screen characters. We tend to favor certain characters over others and when they die it stirs up sadness and we feel empathy. Yo-Yo Ma, the author of Necessary Edges: Arts, Empathy, And Education, says that “Empathy is your capacity to imagine what someone else is going through; what they are thinking, feeling, and perceiving. That will not give you an outlook on who they are-continually corrected by evidence but also what your alternative possibilities are” (Ma 259). By walking in the shoes of movie characters, we better understand what it was like during that time period. We can take this new-found empathy and apply it today to encourage us to take action in the face of bigotry or hatred that could help prevent events like the Holocaust from happening in the future.
Holocaust awareness is an imperative part of our understanding of history. It helps us be equipped to address the conditions and exclusionary ways of thinking that could lead to atrocities and is a crucial component to help prevent future genocides. Education regarding the signs, human behaviors, and social influence that are pre-requisite to such an event is key to preventing future atrocities. The United Nations Human Rights Council brought attention to “the important role that education, including human rights education, can play in genocide prevention, and further encourages Governments to promote, as appropriate, educational programs and projects that contribute to the prevention of genocide” (Unesco 15). The purpose of reliving and learning about the past is to allow us to learn from those experiences and apply those lessons learned to better society. Many schools across America use Schindler’s List for educational purposes. The portrayal of such the horrific events leading up to and including the Holocaust may help viewers understand the conditions and attitudes that lead a society astray and help us interrupt the growth of exclusionary attitudes in our society and prevent bigotry and hate in the future.
There are many symbols throughout Schindler’s List that elicit feelings of empathy. The majority of the film is in black and white contributing to a sense of gloom and foreboding, but every so often there are pops of color. One of the most important examples of this symbolic use of color is the little girl in the red coat. The first scene to depict the girl in red shows her in the mist of hundreds of other Jews, during the time people were getting transported to Auschwitz. During this scene she is shown as a symbol of life amongst death and suffering. Later on, the same little girl is shown dead, being hauled off in a wheelbarrow, where we again see her red coat, only to burned in a mass grave with thousands of others like her. In this instance she is a symbol of death. Spielberg uses this symbol, and the red coat, to help us visualize the gigantic proportion of Jews who were murdered, while at the same time making it deeply personal. It is easier for humanity to relate to an individual rather than a mass group. Art, including this film, can help us feel real emotions and have a deeper understanding of historical context than we could by simply reading facts and figures. Yo-Yo Ma states that “art helps us cope with these issues by engaging, not avoiding, the deep emotions of intimate loss” (Ma 259). By focusing on the individual story of the girl in the red coat, Spielberg zooms in, makes the experience personal for the audience and leaves us with a new understanding of the tragedy of the Holocaust.
When we watch Spielberg’s movie, we see the world through the lens of a young girl in a horrific situation and are empathetic. Empathy is our capacity to view the world from another person’s perspective. By evoking emotions through art, members of society can reference common experiences to help us better humanity in real time. Witnessing someone in pain can prompt us to provide help. Seeing Oskar Schindler putting his own life at risk by saving thousands of Jews might influence others to perform similar acts during dark times. Even though he put his own life at risk by helping the Jewish factory workers Schindler did it anyways, modeling integrity and bravery in the face of great odds. His empathy pushed him to do the right thing, just as our feelings can propel us to act in the face of adversity. In the article “The Moral Importance of Reflective Empathy” Ingmar Persson expresses that “empathy can have an essential role to play in moral motivation” (Persson 183). Empathy can motivate us to do selfless and amazing things, connect with individuals, and bring people together. Schindlers List provide exemplars of brave acts in the face of evil and the movie’s influence might help us employ empathy that pushes us to do good during times of crisis as well.
Empathy is an incredibly important human emotion. Empathy can be evoked in real situations and through art, helping us relate to one another through what we share rather than how we differ. Empathy is important in both everyday life and in times of crisis. Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List helps us bring awareness to the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust illustrating the events in a way that allows us to imagine ourselves in those conditions, even for an hour or two. In this way, the movie as art informs us, shapes our opinions, and allows us to find an emotional connection that may help us to take needed actions in our own lives to see inequity and act to bring greater justice to impacted people. Bringing awareness to the Holocaust is fundamental to preventing such an event from happening in the future. Genocide and racism still happen today; it is important that we take the lessons of truth and tolerance learned in the film and use them to better humanity. Art has the power to make us better, allowing us to learn vicariously; it impacts our collective understanding and provides important shared experiences and symbols that shape society. The past is full of valuable lessons; let’s learn from them and create a world with less hate.

You Might Also Like

I'm Alejandro!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out