Dehumanization of the Jewish People in Night

Topics: Nazi Germany, Antisemitism, Jews Pages: 2 (798 words) Published: July 31, 2008
Dehumanization of the Jewish People in Night

In Elie Wiesel’s Night, imagery is employed to show the dehumanization of the Jewish people by the Nazis as the Jews develop the “survival of the fittest” mentality, and as Eliezer looses the ability to express emotions. Wiesel uses imagery of the Jews’ “survival of the fittest” mentality to show the dehumanization of the Jews who are forced to endure treacherous conditions in the concentration camps. The enslaved Jews experience the worst forms of inhumane treatment. Pushed beyond their ability to deal with the oppressing starvation, cold, disease, exhaustion, and cruelty, the Jews lose their sanity and morality. Thus, Wiesel refers to the Jews as, “wild beasts of prey with animal hatred in their eyes; an extraordinary vitality had seized them, sharpening their teeth and nails. Men threw themselves on top of each other, stamping on each other, biting each other (Pg. 95 old book)”. This alteration of the Jews’ morality and character can only be credited to the dehumanization that they receive, not to the weakness of their spirit. The flock of hungry men clawing for food represents the selfish, animal-like, survival of the fittest mentality that replaces their normal human behavior. The Nazis purposely fail to provide the Jews with sufficient provisions, and as a result, the Jews are reduced to behave like beasts. The Jews, who once resolved that the only way to survive was to help one another, have since resolved that it is every-man-for-himself. Their wish to fulfill the needs that had been deprived from them is so strong, that they are even willing to go as far as to fight one another, to the death, for a small ration of bread. This selfish attitude of the Jews is even reflected by their young when their “sons abandoned their father’s remains without a tear.” (Pg. 87 old book) Rabbi Eliahou's son feels that his father is growing weak. Therefore, he believes that the end is near for his father and he wants to...
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