Night Essay: Examples of Night

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“I became A-7713. From then on, I had no other name.” (42) Elie Wiesel’s Night is about a young Jewish boy and his experiences through the Holocaust in the 1940’s. Any human being should never experience the hell-like terror that Elie had to go through. He is separated from his mother and his sister and is deported to Auschwitz, one of Hitler’s most depressing concentration camps. Wiesel uses night not only as the title but also as a symbol of time, a world without God, and man’s inhumanity to man.

Night is defined as a time of day when the sun is dormant, but for Elie Wiesel, night is eternal. While stuck inside the camp, hope is quickly diminished in Elie’s mind, overtaken by the deep darkness that night brings. This can be clearly seen when Ellie explains his last night in Buna. “Yet another last night. The last night at home, the last night in the ghetto, the last night in the train, and, now the last night in Buna. How much longer were our lives to be dragged out from one ‘last night’ to another?”(79) The question that Elie repeats shows that light in the camp can be seen as sign of hope, but sadly no light shines in the gloomy, depressing place. Elie explains how he encounters a complete darkness, no matter what time of day it is, when he enters Auschwitz. “Never shall I forget the night, the first night in the camp, which has turned my life into one long night.”(32) The horrid sights he has to live through in the camp can be seen as the scary, evil, eerie feeling that you get when nightfall arrives, almost like a time of day were there is no presence of God. When forced to evacuate the camp, Elie explains how the darkness swallowed people’s lives as they were marched to death. “Pitch darkness. Every now and then, an explosion in the night. They had orders to fire on any who could not keep up.”(81) With the sound of gunshots and people dying, night hovered over every single one of them marching for their own lives. The gloomy, dark, fright-filled nighttime can be closely related to the horrid journey of Elie Wiesel in Auschwitz were no light can be seen, even in the daytime.

If God could be seen as light, then the loss of faith is his darkness. On page 60, Elie experiences a young boy being hanged as a punishment inside the camp. From witnessing the awful sight it reminds Elie of the harsh reality of the Nazi’s and how they have deteriorated his faith, a vital component for staying alive in the camp. Elie then hears a question come from behind him. “Where is god now? And I heard a voice within me answer him: Where is he? Here he is- He is hanging here on his gallows . . .” (62) Elie felt as though God no longer had his support and that he had lost faith within him. He explains the young, innocent boy dying in front of him as his faith slowly slipping away. Elie began to doubt the support from God. “I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.”(42) God was no longer meaningful and helpful towards Wiesel’s struggles; he had nothing to turn to when deeply in need. Nighttime can be seen as a time when God is no longer there, when the evil emerges from their dwellings in which they hid from the light in. Auschwitz is an eternal night, where evil doesn’t need to hide because no light is visible.

The horror and inhumanity of the Nazi’s left million of innocent people trapped in a place of darkness without the slightest sign of light or hope. This can be seen numerous times throughout the whole book. Disturbing sights that Ellie experienced will remain with him and haunt him forever because of how brutal they are. The Nazi just threw out the dead corpses. “They undressed him, the survivors avidly sharing out his clothes, then two ‘gravediggers’ took him, one by the head and one by the feet, and threw him out of the wagon like a sack of flour.” The way they just threw around the dead as though they were useless, inanimate objects was something no normal minded person could do. As they made...
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