Elie Wiesel’s Night

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There exist only two types of people in a time of war and crisis, those who survive and those who die. Elie Wiesel’s novel, Night shows how Elie, himself, faces difficult problems and struggles to survive World War II. Wilfred Owen’s poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est”, tells a story about a young soldier thinking of himself before others during World War I. The poem “Mary Hamilton” shows how a mother killed her child so she would not get into trouble. Sir John Harrington writes about a sad truth in the poem “On Treason”; the poem reflects humanity’s selfish tendencies during tough times. When people face difficult times they often care about only one person, themselves; the need to survive clouds people’s moral and judgment.

Elie Wiesel writes about the times when he notices himself being selfish, instead of caring for others. When the Nazis forced the prisoners to run, Elie faces many difficult challenges. Any prisoner who stopped running would be shot, or trampled by other prisoners. The young boy, named Zalman, running next to Elie cannot continue to run. Zalman, “trampled under the feet of thousands of men” (Wiesel 86) becomes forgotten shortly after he dies. Elie admits, “I soon forgot him. I began to think of myself again” (86). The war has made Elie realize he can only afford to think of himself or else he will die.

“Dulce et Decorum Est” shows how one soldiers need to survive indirectly causes another soldiers death. From the very beginning of the poem the reader sees how the war affects the soldiers. Fighting in the war has aged the soldiers, the once young men now “bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed, coughing like hags” trudge through the warzone (Owen 1-2). The men, completely drained f...

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...d war show how easily the morals of people can be twisted.

When faced with challenging, demanding times people will often choose what benefits them best. The poems and the novel, Night, show how cruel and selfish humans can be when they feel their survival threatened. People will turn against one another in order to live another day or deny help to a fallen soldier. The harsh truths of humanity leak out in times of war and crisis. At the end of the day, every man has to fight for himself in order to survive.

Works Cited

“Mary Hamilton.” Honors Poetry Unit Class Handout.

Sir John Harrington. "Treason." Honors Poetry Unit Class Handout.

Wiesel, Elie, and Marion Wiesel. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a Division of Farrar, . Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.

Wilfred Owen. “Dulce et Decorum Est.” Honors Poetry Unit Class Handout.
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