Themes In The Tenth Man Essays

Themes in The Tenth Man, by Graham Greene

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Moral themes are prevalent in the novel The Tenth Man by Graham Greene. One moral theme in this book was the willingness to give up your life for another and the motives for doing so.  People sometimes sacrifice their life for another.  Perhaps the author put this in the book because in today's society very few people are willing to give up their life to save another, and if they are willing they usually would do it for the wrong reasons.  For example in the book Janvier gave up his life for another but his motive was unclear.  He could have done it for his own personal glory because he would have died a rich man what should not be important to you.  He could have also done it for his family so they didn't have to live the rest of their life in a struggle to survive.  He could have also done it to save Chavel life because he thought it was the right thing to do. 

 

Also in the end of the book Chavel gave up his life so Therese would have no problems with land arguments and because he loved her. In present day life I believe that most people would hesitate to save someone else if they could end up dying or getting seriously injured.  For example if someone was going to get hit by a car and another person had a chance to push the other person out of the way  but they may injure or kill themselves in the process, I don't think they will try to save them.  People today have the attitude that someone else will do it or I am not going to do it because I don't like that person.   If people are willing to try and save the person they will do it for the the wrong reason.   People today are looking for some way to become the great hero so they can have their picture on the news and everybody will remember who they were.  Another reason people would try and save someone else would be because of money or some other form of reward.  

 

There are some people who would do it for what I think are the right reasons.  I believe if you do it because you care for some else or for that other persons well-being you are doing it for the right reasons .

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   If you do it because you are trying to get into heaven you are also doing it for the right reason, because after all our goal in life  is to go to heaven because we are promised a better life once we get there.  I don't know if would try and save some one if I know I would die trying.  I am unsure because at the time I would probably not have chance to way the situation and would the consequences of my actions would be.  I can not also speak about what I would do in this situation because I was never in one, I presume that instinct would take over and probably do what would be needed to be done to help that person in their time of need.

            

            Another moral value in the book was giving up your values to save your own live not thinking of others in any way what so ever.  People who believe in something, when faced with problem or difficulty take the values of the people imposing the problem on them.  I think the author included this issue in the book because In today's world people sell out what ever they believe in just so they can get a little ahead in life.  In the book they talk of collaborates who sold out o the Germans and agreed to follow their rules just so they would not be killed.  What they didn't think about is the many people who died trying to fight for what they believed in and what the many people who were now forced to live under these rules would have to go through because they were scared and wouldn't stand up for what they believed in.

 

 In today's society, especially in the business world people disregard what they value because they want that better job or that raise or just to get on the bosses good side.   This is not excluded to the business world though, many people lie about what they believe just to belong to a group are to impress someone.  This is a real problem among children they give up in what they believe in because they friends ridicule or mock them because of that.   I am not immune to this problem I have changed some of my values because  my friends made fun of me because I believed in what I did Through the years I have done this less and less because I learned to hold fast to what  I believe  in and not change because I am jeered.

 

One more moral value in The Tenth Man was not to take advantage of some one who is depressed, hurt, injured, etc. in any way.   Alot of people use someone who has just gone through a loss to take advantage of them.  Once again the author put this in the book because it is a pre prevalent problem in the world throughout it's history.  He also include this issue because it can lead to more serious problems because these people were already hurt and now they are hurt worse.  In the book after Therese's mother died she was very upset as any child would be, and Chavel felt an attraction towards here.  He was warned by the priest not to take advantage of  her.  He made the right decision in the book by not mentioning it and taking it to his grave.  

 

In society today many people prey on people who have been hurt or depressed for one reason or another and take advantage of them.  These people win these weak people's love and then take them for everything they have.  The right thing to do in these situations would be to care for the person who is hurt or down and get them through their problem.  Once they are stable you can tell them how you feel towards them or anything else.  I have never to my knowledge taken advantage of someone who was in no shape to be told any thing that could make their condition worse then it already was.

 

             Deceiving someone else about who you truly are is another moral issue in the book.  People deliberately lie about their identity or other information to take advantage of another person and to hide information from that person that they don't want them to find out about.  The author included this in the story to teach that deception is wrong in any way you look at.  In the story Chavel pretended that he was Charlot.  He did so  so that Therese would not find out that he was responsible for her brother' demise.  In the end it back fired and caused more problems then it solved.   Many people do not tell important information of themselves to other people so it does not cause friction between them or others.   One main example of this is when applying for a job you are asked if you were ever arrested.   Many people lie and say no so they get the job but lying causes them to not get the job because the employer will find out one way or another.

            One moral that was not given right out in the open but could be received indirectly was about war.  I think the author was for war if the cause was a fair one as was World War 2.   This is still an area of controversy today.  In all the wars we have fought since WW2 we have questioned if it was really necessary.   I believe that you should not be forced to fight in any war that you do not believe that we should be fighting in as a nation

              The book portrayed many morals that society of today needs to learn.   If society learns these morals this place will be a very better place to live of everyone and everything.

 



“The Tenth Man” has the set-up of a homecoming tale, with a few immediate quirks. It follows Ariel, an Argentinian man living in NYC who is flying home to Buenos Aires, Argentina to see his father, Usher, and introduce him to his wife, a dancer named Monica. But from the very beginning, nothing goes according to plan: Monica can't join him in Argentina for a few days and Ariel can't find some random Velcro shoes that Usher has requested. Worst of all, when Ariel gets to Bueno Aires, Usher is merely a voice on the phone, telling him day-after-day that he'll be there soon. 

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Back in the place he grew up, a volunteer community known as The Foundation that his father leads, Ariel does a little recharging as he gets sucked into Usher's business. The Foundation runs like a bazaar of volunteers, frantic voices piled on top of each other, trying to help different members of their Jewish community. Ariel quickly finds himself running errands, along with a mute woman named Eva (Julieta Zylberberg) that his father is essentially setting him up with. 

"The Tenth Man" could be categorized as "manipulation comedy" of sorts, as Ariel moves from one errand/favor (deliver shoes to bedridden man at the hospital) to the next (collect leftover pills from a recently deceased member of the Foundation). As Ariel gets deeper into the Foundation's going-ons and becomes a type of leader himself, Burman keeps the story focused by going day by day. But the movie feels hollow in spite of its busy nature and relative focus. The omnipotence of Usher is a more distinct element, but he's a mere voice on the phone with vague promises and direct requests for his son. Much of this is to be taken, I think, as a funny course of events with muffled quirkiness. 

Sabbagh and Zylberberg struggle to make interesting characters to hook into, even as the two drastically change throughout the course of the story. They’re both muted performances; he with his blank expressions coming from tired eyes, and her with a literal lack of words. But without great comedy or even striking moments, they only contribute to Burman’s progressively monotonous tone. 

"The Tenth Man" gets most curious, especially for those of us unfamiliar with the Jewish-Argentinian community, as Ariel steps into the customs of his faith, the spur being a pursuit of Eva into a synagogue. Often featuring Ariel on the phone talking to the off-screen Usher or Monica, the film can be too drab visually, but at least has some cultural offerings at its midpoint. Burman's movie lacks so much tone that education becomes its biggest appeal, observing customs like the Teffillin, or exploring why, in Ariel's words, that ten people are seemingly needed to do anything in the Jewish religion. The film has a climax of sorts at a Purim ceremony as well, which provides an extended scene of community, although Ariel's placement in it proves yet again to be the very least interesting component. 

Burman's film languishes on the chaos of the events, and it can never be accused of not having some ideas about fatherhood and legacy. But the humor of this rambling film runs dry to the point of unpalatable. 

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