Night Dehumanization Essay

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Dehumanize (verb): To deprive of human qualities or attributes; divest of individuality. This definition scarcely scratches the surface of the horrifically inhumane conditions the Jewish people were placed under by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel was dehumanized, and as a result of this dehumanization he became numb. At the beginning of the novel, Elie was a naïve young Jewish boy with an incredibly strong faith, who wept “over the destruction of the temple” (Wiesel 14). By the end, years of concentration camp life have broken his spirit and Elie is no longer fazed by the death and torture occurring all around him (Wiesel 103). This numbness manifests itself in varying ways throughout Night, each more disheartening than the last. First, Elie loses his faith in God. He then becomes selfish, disregarding others completely at times. Finally, Elie loses his will to live, deciding that suffering is no longer worth it. Dehumanization occurs countless times during this memoir, and affects each of its victims differently. Detachment due to dehumanization causes Elie to stop believing in God and His power. Before his family is deported, Elie is a very devout believer who reads Jewish texts on a daily basis and aspires to study the religion’s mysticisms for a living (Wiesel 14). Gradually, Elie stops thinking of the Lord as his Rock, questioning how He could allow such injustice to occur to His “Chosen People” (Wiesel 74). Eventually, Elie decides that he is actually stronger than God because he is incapable of making his problems simply go away (Wiesel 75). This clearly caused numbness for Elie because he speaks of a “great void” in the depths of his heart (Wiesel 76). Elie’s faith had been a huge part of his personality. Losing his relationship with God was the beginning of a total loss of his original identity. Suffering from dehumanization robs Elie of his compassion, and he becomes a rather selfish boy. When they first reach the labor camp, Elie’s only...
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