Symbolism in Elie Wiesel's Night

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Symbolism in Night
by Brooke Justus

Elie Wiesel uses several types of figurative language in Night. In his novel, Elie’s use of symbolism is most important in helping the reader understand the horrors of his experience during the Holocaust.

The first and most prevalent example of symbolism in the book is the title itself. By calling the novel “Night” it is apparent to the reader that the Holocaust was a dark experience, full of terror and suffering. The entire novel is filled with “last nights”. Elie experiences the last night withEl his father, the last night in Buna, the last night in the ghetto, and several others throughout the book. The term “night” also references to a life without a God. Wiesel often says that God does not live in the concentration camps and that the Jews who once followed him had been abandoned to a dark existence. "For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify his name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?" (Wiesel 33). In this quote, Elie begins to feel anger against his God for leaving him in the darkness of night.

Silence is another important example of symbolism in Night. Although silence is seemingly unimportant, Elie’s remarks about silence symbolize much more. Firstly, Elie is troubled by the fact that the world can remain silent while the Jews and others in the concentration camps are being submitted to torture. Also, he recognizes that the Jews have been oppressed to silence, unable to stand for themselves any longer. The silence represents the inability and weakness that was brought upon the prisoners. A prime example of this silence was at the end of the book, when Elie remained silent while witnessing his ill father being beaten to his death. “No prayers were said over his tomb. No candle lit in his memory. His last word had been my name. He had called out to me and I had not answered.” Elie’s silence represents...
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