“Simple Truths” is a poem that expresses resentment, anger, and sadness for the monstrosity that the Jews went through. In the poem William Heyen tells about his anger with God for standing by while the Jews were brutally and shamelessly tortured and murdered. He uses themes such as repetition and sarcasm to vividly portray his feels and experiences. Heyen uses repetition in several different aspects to show emotion his emotion and also to help you feel his emotion.
One of the things that Heyen tends to repeat is the idea of possession and loss of possession. He talks a lot about how a person will at one point have something and then vividly describes how it was ripped away from them. For example: “And when a woman has hair, And her hair is shorn and her scalp bleeds, when a woman has children to love for as long as she lives, when the children are taken from her…. ” He gives a really good idea of the emotion that a woman had to go through and the pain of losing her beloved children.Another point of repetition is Heyen’s sarcasm about how omnipresence of God.
He at multiple occasions in the poem refers to how God sat through the ten years of Jewish oppression and did nothing. In saying these things he also seems to show resentment towards his Jewish blood and inherited religion by saying how we must speak of God in an omnipresent a way. This poem also shows how the Germans dehumanized the Jews and stripped them of everything they had.
In the beginning of the poem he says: “When a man has grown a body, a body to carry with him through nature for as long as he can, when this body is taken from him by other men and women who happen to be, this time, in uniform, then it is clear that he has experienced an act of barbarism…” To commit an act of barbarism against someone is to reduce to them to a level inferiority, which essentially is taking away their human rights to be equal and have the same opportunities as yourself.Another point that shows how the Germans were reducing them to something less than humans is when Heyen says: “… or beaten, or injected by the thousands, or ripped apart, by the thousands, by the millions…. ” The Germans where trying to exterminate the Jews like they were an infestation of bugs or vermin. The Germans would do anything to preserve their “perfect” Aryan race.Heyen also shows the brutality that the Jews experienced in the Holocaust through his description of the brutality that was committed. One of the most brutal things that stood out to me as when Heyen told about the boy that kept getting clubbed over the head and left to heal only to be beat again, and then repeated over and over again till the boy could barely even make his way to the doctor and did finally die of his head injuries.The brutality that the Jews had to go through was one of the two important themes that Heyen really covered.
The second prominent theme was the anger that Heyen felt towards God for letting all the horrors happen to the Jews during the Holocaust. “When we read these things or see them, then it is clear to us that’s this happened and within the lord’s allowance….. ” This response shows how people change their views on God as they go through tribulations and watch others go through tough times.Throughout the poem the Heyen says “So much is clear” and talks about how things have been made clear to him, as though he is seeing something about God that he hasn’t seen before. This shows the plasticity of people faiths through hard times.
“Simple Truths” is a poem that shows the effect of brutality and mistreatment of on a person’s life. The things that Heyen saw made him question everything. This poem, to me, shows the dehumanization of Jews by the Germans, and how it affected all those that were involved or even related to it.