Essay about Dehumanization in Night by Elie Wiesel

Essay about Dehumanization in Night by Elie Wiesel

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Dehumanization in Night

In the novel, Night, Elie Wiesel narrates his experience as a young Jewish
boy during the holocaust.  The captured Jews are enslaved in concentration
camps, where they experience the absolute worst forms of torture, abuse, and
inhumane treatment.  Such torture has obvious physical effects, but it also
induces psychological changes on those unfortunate enough to experience it.
However, these mutations of their character and morality cannot be
accredited to weakness of the Jews' spirit, but they can be attributed to
the animal-like treatment they receive.  They devolve into primitive people,
with savage, animal characteristics that are necessary for survival under
such conditions.

.  The Jews in the story had to overcome tremendous difficulties: they are
forced to abandon their homes, all their earthly possessions, and eventually
their humanity.  The story begins with Eliezel, a young Jewish boy,
describing his childhood and his religious upbringing.  However, Hitler's
anti-Semitic policies are just being introduced and the Jews are to be
placed in concentration camps.  In the face of savage abuse and insolent
treatment, the Jews stand tall and hold on to everything they can for as
long as possible, but it is just not plausible for them to survive under
such horrid conditions.  Wiesel effectively illustrates the drastic changes
that the Jews go through; from average citizens with family, friends, and
loved ones into savage, independent beasts who look out for no one else and
must fight for their own well being.

  At the beginning of the novel, Elie describes his community, the Jewish
community of Sighet, as a very caring and unified society.  When the

... middle of paper ...

...wish community, is reduced to a parsimonious savage.

            The Jews in Elie Wiesel's Night go through many changes and mutations of
personality.  Faced with the ultimate test, death, the Jews, instead of
demonstrating humane dedication to the God that instituted this perilous
situation upon them, they deny everything that is taught to them in a vain
attempt to survive.  They deny the existence of the Almighty, they are
callous to the death of their peers, and going so far as to murder fellow
Jews to maintain their own survival.  This once peaceful and civilized
society devolved into primitive animals upon being treated as such, offering
the notion that we as humans must not lose touch with everything that makes
us what we are, even in the face of death and disaster.

Works Cited:

Wiesel, Elie. Night. NY: Bantam Edition, 1982.

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