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Analysis and reaction paper- night

Analysisand reaction paper- night

Nightis a memoir compiled by Elie Wiesel but narrated by Eliezer. Theauthor (Wiesel) distinguishes himself from the narrator by alteringunimportant details in the text. However, many of the challenges thatface the narrator in the text represent the actual challenges thatfaced the author during the holocaust. Elie Wiesel was a Jew fromHungary born in 1928 and although Germans had started oppressing theJews in 1930’s, the holocaust did not affect Hungarian Jews until1944. In March 1944, Adolf Hitler’s army took over Hungary andinstalled a puppet government to lead the country. By this time,Wiesel was 15 years old and his whole family like other Jews wasstrict observers of Jewish tradition. The German army deported theHungarian Jews to German camps and Poland camps. Wiesel’s familywas deported to Auschwitz camp in Poland where at least 1300000Hungarian Jews were killed. Wiesel’s mother, father and youngsister all died during the holocaust, but he survived (Wiesel 12).

Discussion Thetitle of the book ‘night’ is symbolic. According to the bible,night and darkness symbolizes a world without God’s presence.Before God created heaven and earth, the bible records that the worldwas without void and form and darkness filled the whole earth(Genesis 1:2). During the holocaust, suffering became so severe tothe extent of making it hard to believe that God exists. Although,Eliezer, the narrator, grew up knowing there is an immortal God, thesuffering in the camp convinced him that God does not exist. Eliezercould not understand why the powerful God would watch His childrensuffer so much yet He had power to rescue them. In the memoir, it isnight when prisoners are forced to witness fellow prisoners beinghanged (Wiesel 14). It is night when Eliezer’s father dies in hispresence because of physical abuse. The separation of Eliezer fromhis mother and little sister as a teenager also represents night. Inthe memoir, Wiesel talks of things he will never forget. Throughoutthe text, there are incidents that one can never forget. AfterEliezer and his father passed the test of being strong enough towork, they were taken to prison barracks but on their way theystumbled on open furnaces where the Nazi’s were burning babies. Thesight of babies being burned in an open furnace is hard to forget.The image, idea or feeling of such a sight is hard to swallow. Theimage of Eliezer’s golden tooth being plucked using a rusty spoonis almost unforgettable. The narrator states that prisoners wereforced to watch fellow prisoners being hanged. It even reached apoint where they witnessed the hanging of a baby who was suspected toassociate with rebels (Wiesel 17). Some images and ideas such asthese keep reoccurring in people’s mind no matter how hard they areignored. Ever since the Hungarian Jews were deported to Poland,the chances of death were higher compared to those of surviving.Death seemed almost inevitable, the sight of people being burned,hanged or thoroughly beaten was normal. Out of the fifteen thousandJews families deported from Hungary only fifteen survived. Simplyput, over 95 percent of the Jews taken by Nazi did not survive. Thefew survivors who were rescued by the British and Russian army haveeach and every reason to believe it was a miracle. The narratorstates that out of a hundred people who boarded a train toBuchenwald, only twelve survived, among them Eliezer and his father,this underlines how easy losing life was.

In the midst of snowstorms, the prisoners were forced to run for overfifty miles to Gleiwitz camp and many of them died due to the harshweather conditions. The circumstances, the prisoners, were exposed tomade it almost impossible for them to survive. The cruelty subjectedto the Jews made them become cruel. Eliezer lost faith in God andbecame cruel towards fellow prisoners. Due to the cruel treatment ofthe prisoners by the Nazi’s, they became selfish and each Jewstarted caring only about own survival without caring about the fateof fellow Jews. Suffering causes people to change their realcharacter and behave in selfish ways. Wiesel uses verbal anddramatic irony throughout the book. The main significance of irony isto enable readers is to help readers develop mental images of how thesituation was like and to stimulate their thinking. The use of ironywas very efficient in most of the instances. At the beginning of thenarration, the author records that Eliezer was a Jew who strictlyfollowed Jewish tradition and he had read the Torah. It is ironicalfor such a person with a strong foundation on Jewish faith doubtingthe existence of the immortal God. While in the camps, readers wouldexpect that Eliezer’s father would help him to survive in suchharsh conditions. It is ironical that Eliezer is the one whostruggles to help his father survive (Wiesel 24).Conclusion Nightis a memoir by Wiesel that explains the suffering the Hungarian Jewswent through during world war two at the hands of German army. Theauthor makes the readers understand the conditions the prisoners wereexposed to and the degree of cruelty practiced by Hitler’s army.


Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York New York: Hill and Wang, 2011.Print.