Night by Elie Wiesel

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“In a dark time, the eye begins to see…” When analyzed literally, this quote appears to contradict itself. After all, doesn’t darkness impair vision? However, when applied to Elie Wiesel’s Night, this paradox certainly rings true. It implies that in times of despair, humans often view life in a different light. Sheathed in darkness, the truth becomes illuminated. In Night, the Jews’ “dark time” entails being stripped of their freedom, rights, family, food, shelter, religion, and identity. With the loss of each of these precious possessions, the Jews begin to recognize the worth of such elements. Wistfully, they realize that these belongings should not be taken for granted, that they are truly priceless. As stated by Elie on page 23,“Our eyes were opened. Too late.”

At first, the Jews believe the Germans to be harmless. It takes dark times and drastic measures for the German’s true wickedness to be unveiled. One of the first instances in which the Jews are exposed to the true evil of their antagonists is the first moment they get off of their cattle cars at Birkenau-Auschwitz. Consumed by Madame Schachter’s prophesied “fire,” the sky symbolizes the flaming hell that the Jews are about to endure. At this moment, as the Jews stare silently at the ravenous chimneys spouting out flames, their worst nightmares evolve into reality. At midnight, the witching hour, the Jews’ eyes finally begin to see the evil that surrounds them.

The Germans can only be described as monsters, for their horrific acts of cruelty are wholly inhumane. During the Holocaust, the Germans strip the Jews of everything in their possession, to the point where the Jews are completely dehumanized. This is all a part of the Germans’ scheme to massacre the Jews with...

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...mans’ mass murders? During a paramount man vs. himself conflict, Elie allows the darkness to swallow his final piece of light.

When Elie loses faith, darkness becomes an increasingly dominant piece of imagery in Night. Darkness reflects Elie’s sullen mood and dreary outlook on life. Nighttime entails fear and death, two things that Elie has become greatly accustomed to in Auschwitz.

Elie is the main dynamic character throughout Night, leaving the story deeply changed by his horrendous experiences. As an author, Elie Wiesel refuses to let people forget about the Holocaust. His ultimate “dark time” caused his eyes to see one final truth: no matter how much agony it may entail, he must share his story with the world. Otherwise, history might repeat itself. It is safe to say that Elie Wiesel has surpassed his goal.

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Night by Elie Wiesel
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