Summary Of ' Night ' By Elie Wiesel Essays

Summary Of ' Night ' By Elie Wiesel Essays

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An (Identity) Crisis
Life is a valued concept, as are the people and experiences associated with it. However, when one is pushed to the limit of human capacity, they can lose familiarity with the value of their own life. Genocide-- the mass slaughter of a group of people based on their identity-- can have severe effects on the victimized people in a plethora of ways. One can not possibly quantify the grotesque, inhumane treatment witnessed in many genocides. Simultaneously, many victims are vulnerable to their identities being left behind and only their will to survive being left intact. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, recounts his experiences being at the hands of a brutal, systematic killing regime in his award-winning memoir, Night. Wiesel takes an anecdotal approach, through his stories detailing many consequences and effects of being in the Holocaust, but none more defined and shocking than the permanent change the horrific events and atrocities inflicted on his own identity. Wiesel suggests that genocide poses as dangerous a threat to one’s identity as it does to one’s safety.
The victims’ identities are neutralized, as the German officers try to ignore the individuality of the people who would soon become their prey. From the very incipient stages of his experience, Wiesel is stripped of his own possessions, things that contribute to his family’s own identity: “[...]The Hungarian police burst into every Jewish home in town: a Jew was henceforth forbidden to own gold, jewelry, or any valuables. Everything had to be handed over to the authorities, under penalty of death” (10-11). This marks the beginning of the careless, inhumane treatment of the Jewish people. Although one can usually survive without their valuable jewel...


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...nces. Yet, the irreparable damage inflicted by events like the Holocaust is only fully appreciated and recognized by someone there to witness it. Humanity is a foreign concept when one flirts with concepts as terrifying as mortality and death. Survival and competition go hand in hand in times where there is more unknown than there is known. Holocaust survivors like Wiesel share a common bond. They know the feelings of intense hunger, faithlessness, and pain. Though Holocaust survivors were lucky enough to make it out alive, their suffering is immortal. Wiesel lost more than just his beloved family and friends; he lost his identity. He escaped eventually, but not before witnessing the burning of young, innocent children, the deportation, and the separation of families like his own-- not before losing what made him who he was before he became prey to the German forces.

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