Destruction: The Catalyst in the Circle of Life

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In Night by Elie Wiesel and Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer destruction appears often. Throughout human history, destruction has maintained a universal presence. In their works, Safran Foer and Wiesel illustrate the ideal that with destruction comes rebirth and that destruction does not prove the end, but merely the beginning. Destruction, like so many other things in the world, proves cyclic. Destruction cannot easily by stream lined into one basic principle, but more easily by destruction of physical things, destruction of youth, and destruction of one’s humanity.

For rebirth to exist, there must be destruction. With the destruction of physical things man makes room for progress, whether positive or negative. Both Wiesel and Safran Foer use physical destruction to bring more meaning to their protagonist’s journeys.

In Elie Wiesel’s Night destruction proves consistent in Elie’s and his father’s journey. The destruction for them begins with the destruction of the Jew’s businesses and homes in Sighet. “One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as he gazed at me, has never left me” (Wiesel 115). The physical destruction of Elie and his body, makes him feel as though he has already died. This destruction makes it more available for him to grow from his experience and share his experiences with others, but that initial shock of his physical and spiritual death and rebirth, startles Elie.

In Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated the novel begins and ends with physical destruction that leads to the creation...

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Destruction is universal. By experiencing destruction and reacting to it humans create something new in lieu of the destruction. Destruction can be described as destruction of physical things, destruction of youth, and destruction of humanity, both the characters in Everything is Illuminated and Elie Wiesel in his memoir Night, experience the destruction of all of these. Destruction exists constantly in daily life, one’s reaction to the destruction and grows from it that defines him as a person. The ability for destruction defines humanity, humans are the only species with the ability for destruction of our humanity and our innocence because humans solely possess the capability to be innocent.

Works Cited

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Everything Is Illuminated: a Novel. New York: Perennial, 2003. Print.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.
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