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Word Count: 904
A WAR AGAINST PREJUDICE Prejudice is defeated not by force but by faith in the goodness in the hearts and minds of men This idea is what Irwin Shaw tries to express in his short story Act of Faith through his character Norman Seeger an American soldier during the second World War who is confronted with the dilemma of how to deal with prejudice against the Jewish race Throughout the story Seegers inner strength is shown through his view of a Luger pistol which he had won in combat from a SS major It is via this pistol that Shaw demonstrates Seegers changes towards his views of coping with prejudice Seegers changes occur over three different stages the acquiring of the Luger holding the pistol and selling it Shaw uses symbolism in the form of the Luger pistol to depict the many ways in which Seeger sees the pistol revenge protection and faith Seeger decides to hold on to his beliefs rather than his weapon and by doing so places his trust in mankind instead of the Luger Norman Seeger first sees his German pistol as a symbol of a forceful triumph over prejudice He feels proud of killing the German SS major and keeps his gun to remind him of his victory When he stood over the huge dead SS major with the face blown in by his bullets he had tasted a strange little extra flavor of triumph p378 Seeger worships the pistol for it represents his revenge against the Germans How many Jews hed thought has this man killed how fitting it is that Ive killed him p378 He cares for this Luger as if it was actually a part of him which always has to be in perfect condition Seeger had kept the Luger very carefully since then lugging it with him hiding it at the bottom of his bedroll
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