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Night by Elie Wiesel

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Night Michael Greenberg By Elie Wiesel 1/11/13

1. “ The shadows beside me awoke as from a long sleep. They fled, silently, in all directions.” (Wiesel pg 12)- Personification. Wiesel uses this deep personification with a hint of symbolism to give the effect that shadows can wake up just as living organisms do. Yet a shadow is non-living and cannot truly wake up. At the time of Wiesel’s choice of personification, his whole family has just heard news that they are to leave their home in the morning. He is told by his father to wake up the neighbors, but instead shadows are the only things that wake. This somewhat hints at the profound deeper meaning of where they are actually going to be taken and how that might affect them.
2. “ The street was like a market place that had suddenly been abandoned.” (Pg 15)- Simile. Wiesel makes the reader understand the disappearance of life from the streets. A market is usually filled with vendors, buyers and entertainers, but after the evacuation of the Jews of Sighet, the belongings remained but not the people. Leaving behind a sense of eeriness and emptiness.
3. “Monday passed like a small summer cloud like a dream in the first daylight hours.” (Pg 16)-Simile. A small summer cloud is used to show how fast this life-changing event has come over Elie. It all seemed so sweet and shining for him but it passed so quickly. Monday is over and the day that Elie Wiesel’s sweet childhood ends is just over the horizon.
4. “It seemed to me that we were damned souls wandering in the half-world, souls condemned to wander through space till the generations of man came to an end.” (Pg 34)- Metaphor. Wiesel speaks of himself and fellow tortured prisoners of the Nazi Germans, as damned souls wandering till man came to an end. It is as if there was no place for them in this world but to wander. At this point in time he has been forced to travel from barracks to barracks, following his inmates not having any idea of what his purpose is, oblivious to any notion of hope or sunlight. This is another moment of emptiness in Wiesel’s autobiography.
5. “The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames.”(Pg 34)- Personification. Wiesel uses this form of personification to convey that his childhood had been engulfed by a dark flame that burned away his soul. It is extremely profound because it marks a turning point in his life, in which little Eliezer Wiesel, the student of the holy books who loved to read and make soup with his mom, has turned into a different person. Morning has turned into night and Elie has let his past be burned.
6. “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never" (pg32) – anaphora. Wiesel pushes the point that all of these horrid even minute memories of his life will always remain singed to his mind. He uses the word never extremely effectively to enforce the fact the he will never be the same. When he speaks of God he now associates it with never, because he has lost all hope in faith. When you face death so many times you never forget it even if you are immortal, because it burns your desire to live. It is important to note the choice of the words never forget rather than always remember, because they have much more power and uumphh to stick with you forever.
7. “ I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. (Pg109)- Symbolism. Wiesel, as it is the last page of his story, sums up all of his experiences into one symbol: a corpse. He describes himself as a living corpse because it is impossible to fathom the amount of death that surrounded his life. Corpses symbolize the smell of burning flesh that sent tremors into his soul. They symbolize death not only literally but also spiritually. Eliezer innocent soul had been completely devoured throughout his time in Concentration Camps. Little by little, Elie Wiesel became a corpse from the inside out, however, he only realizes this once he is seeing himself in the mirror again.

A burning candle (as shown above) is a great example of Elie Wiesel as a person. A candle burns during times of darkness to bring hope and light, yet I see the flame of the candle as a parallel to the death and disaster that surrounded Elie. The flame that burned his family and friends, and the flame that burned away his soul (the candle).

Here we have a tunnel with a beginning but no end in sight just darkness. This is exactly how I feel Elie Wiesel’s life “begins”. Once he enters the tunnel and leaves the light behind, there is just emptiness and darkness to follow. As the book begins we learn of the energetic innocent boy, Eliezer Wiesel, but when the book ends we see a corpse looking for a purpose (the other side).

Night is a very dark book in its entirety, but this image stresses the little light that begins it. This theme of darkness is repeated so often; we forget that even at night there is always light. Elie Wiesel also forgets this, as the Americans fight closer and closer, because now all he sees is darkness.

The Authors Purpose I believe that Elie Wiesel wrote this autobiography about his time in imprisonment; to educate the world on what horrible things men could do to men. It is very important to know how much harm came to those that did not deserve it: the ones that one day while playing in the sandbox, were told that they must leave their lives behind and go to God knows where. He describes in great detail from day one, the life of a young Jewish boy being taken to die. Through his story Wiesel teaches us that it is essential, no matter how horrible the case or how dark the day, not to lose faith. Even as a man who values religion supremely over all else, he describes the many times when he called to God to ask “Why?” “Why, but why should I bless Him? In every fiber, I rebelled. Because He had had thousands of children burned in his pits? Because He kept six crematories working night and day, on Sundays and feast days? Because on His great might He had created Auschwitz, Bierkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death? (Pg 64)
Faith is clearly one of the main themes in Night and Wiesel shows his struggle of maintaining it. In the end he keeps reminding himself that he will indeed never forget all the death and destruction, and that is what really pushes him through till morning.

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