The Sacrifice of Humanization
When people are told they are something over and over and over, they may begin to believe that it is true, and indeed they begin to become it. In the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel there is a use of a heavy symbolism. The most redundant and most important symbols that are used throughout his memoir are those of animals. In this memoir the constant comparison of the Jews to animals is used in a negative connotation and so that we see how the Nazi’s really were dehumanizing the Jews as a whole. Some of the major animals that were used for symbolism include cattle, dogs, and lambs. Not only was the symbolism used to show how lowly the Nazi’s felt about the Jews, but also to show that continuing to call them these various animal names and treat them like the animals began to make them actually behave like these animals would, and by that they were dehumanized.
The first major animals that the Jews are compared to are cattle. This is a reoccurring animal that Wiesel continuously reminds the reader that the Jews are compared to. The first instant where the Jews are compared to cattle is when they are all forced onto “cattle cars”. “They had first been herded through the main synagogue…” (Wiesel 18). The use of the word herded here starts off the tone of them being compared to animals. Herded is a term used for animals when they are going to be put together and looked after. The Jews are then next were forced onto the cattle cars. Cattle cars are normally meant for cattle and transporting them, not human transportation. In the memoir Wiesel talks about being put in these cars, “The world had become a hermetically sealed cattle car.” (Wiesel 24). This is implying that now Wiesel’s world is being a cattle, he is forced to be in a locked up tight cattle car with 80 other people, shoved in to inhumane conditions. The cattle cars are not the only reference to Wiesel and the other Jews being considered cattle. While talking about the...
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