Dehumanization in “Night” by Elie Wiesel
Dehumanization is to deprive of human qualities such as individuality, compassion, or civility. In this book set in World War II, it is shown to us how Jews were dehumanized by Nazis into a little more than “things”. Graphic images are drawn into our head as a young Elie Wiesel retells what he saw. First of all, the Jews were humiliated and treated like second class citizens and even worse than criminals. They had to wear yellow stars to show that they were Jews. “The yellow star? Well what of it? You don’t die of it…” (Wiesel 9) said Elie’s father, trying to keep an optimistic perspective. They were also treated like animals, being shipped to concentration camps in small cramped cattle trains were they traveled under the hot sun without being able to sit, something that never in their lives would they have thought of as a privilege. Adding to making them feel like animals, they also called them things like “filthy swines” and “sons of bitches”. They were also stripped of their dignity, something that scarred them emotionally. They tattooed numbers on their arms and called them that instead of their names. Think about it: a name is what identifies you from other people, it was given to you with love by your parents and know someone is taking that away from you and giving you a number as an identity, making the Jews feel just like that, a worthless number. Hair is used to express your personality, you can control it to look a certain way, a way that you like it, the Nazis shaved off Elie’s hair along with everyone else’s and making them all feel dull and boring. Finally Jews were treated as objects. Like if they were a nuisance to the world and the Nazis were doing the world a favor by killing them. They had no regard for their lives. We first see an example of this in the first chapter: “Children were thirsty, crying for water standing in the scorching sun for over three hours.” Meaning they were not given water to...
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