Existentialism in Night Essay

Existentialism in Night Essay

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Existentialism in Night

In his essay “Existentialism”, Jean Paul Sartre discusses the main beliefs of existentialism. Perhaps the most important belief of existentialism is that there is no human nature, and there is no God. This means that each individual man has control of his own destiny. The definition of each individual man is the sum of his life and all he has accomplished in his life. He is also responsible for all the choices and actions he makes in his life. These types of choices and actions can be seen in the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel. This book is a story about a boy, Wiesel, who is taken to a concentration camp with his family. It follows him and his father through their trials and movement from Auschwitz to Burkenau, and to Buna and how they continue to narrowly escape death. By the end of the story, readers see how Wiesel has become indifferent to the horrors of the camps. From the beginning to this point in the book, Wiesel and other characters make decisions that Sartre would call existentialist.

Wiesel himself makes the first of these decisions. When Wiesel is a young boy in Sighet, he decides he wants to study the Zohar, the cabbalistic books. He would go to the synagogue ad weep while he prayed. His parents said that he should be in school. Wiesel said of his father, “He wanted to drive the notion out of my head. But it was in vain. I found a master for myself,” (2). His father wanted him to stop with his wishes to be educ...

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