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the book night

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Kristin Aquilina
RDG 101 GA
November 12th 2014
Homework #5
Night
1. Elie Wiesel wrote the novel “Night”. This novel was based on his experiences as a Jewish child during the holocaust. Wiesel was one of four children, he had 2 older sisters and 1 younger sister. They grew up in Romania with their mother and father. In 1940 during the war his father was invited to a meeting where they discovered the Germany army was transporting everyone in his town to ghettos. In may of 1944 the German authorities deported most of the Jewish community to Aushwitz concentration camp.In this concentration camp he was separated from his mother and three sisters,but he did remain with his father for a majority or his time spent in the concentration camps.When they arrived at aushwitz they were taken to a shower to strip of all clothing and disinfect, then they were sent to the barber and then sent to get their number tattooed on their arm . Their identity was completely confiscated from them.Elie worked hard and remained as healthy as he possibly could or could seem so him and his father would last the constant checks. Elies father was nearly dead at the end but could only manage to keep him alive for so long before the guards realize he was not useful. Elies father was killed two weeks before American troops invaded aushwitz and slowly saved the remaining Jewish prisoners. When out Elie found out that his father, his mother, and his youngest sister did not survive.
I believe Wiesel wrote this book because he felt as if it was his responsibility to show how cruel this holocaust was from the own mouth of a survivor. I think he felt he needed to speak out not so much about his own horror he experienced but more so just to expose how horrible the entire situation was for almost everyone who had experienced it first hand. When you hear about the holocaust and what was done to a mass amount of people it sounds horrible but it is even worse when you hear it first hand from a survivor who literally lost everything because of this.
2. While reading this book I experienced various emotions depending on which scene. While I was reading the book I felt kind of sad when I realized that the German authorities showed up because I had a feeling that at that point they were going to end up in concentration camps.at another point I had felt deep sympathy when Elie knew his father was dying but would sacrifice his own bread and whatever water he received to save him and would constantly put his father before his own health.i had also felt a form of relief when his father was finally gone so Elie could finally work on keeping himself healthy. After I read the book I just felt pure grief and anger. I felt horrible knowing this is a true novel. It was like I know I have heard of the Holocaust and I have been taught about it a lot but knowing the man who wrote this book physically, mentally and emotionally experienced it makes me feel even more terrible. Almost like its happening now and I am just sitting here not doing anything. These people where viciously murdered in mass amounts just because one dumb man didn't like them. That is absolutely inhumane and unfair.
I thought about this question very thoroughly and their were two major events in my opinion that I cant seem to exactly choose from. One of the events that really hit me was when they arrived at aushwitz. These people were separated and torn away from there family due to their difference in gender. Husbands and wives, parents from children., ripped out of each others arms and sent to god knows where to most likely never be seen again. As if that was not bad enough, they where then sent to a large room where they were forced to strip and stand extremely close together and take a disinfectant shower. Now that their pride has been completely stripped away they hand them each the same striped pajamas. Now it was time to take away whatever individuality you had and they cut off everyone's hair, women, men ,children, elders, anyone. A choppy messy almost bald hair cut to take away your individuality. But that was still not enough , now they take away their name , everything they have always been known as, the one thing they still had left with them. That is also taken away, instead of being people they were known as rodents and called to by the number dangerously carved into their arm. This event was extremely hard for me because it just set this horrible image in my head of what nightmare their life turned into . The other event that also made me cringe a bit was when they were forced to march after Russians invaded. There was snow on the ground and the SS guards were making them run through the snow, while being at risk of being killed if you cant keep up. After endless amounts of hour they are finally ordered to rest. Elies dad lead him to a shed to rest in but his dad wont let him fall asleep because its dangerous to sleep in the snow, “to sleep means death”. Now this is where this event strongly stood out for me. While Elie and his Father take turns keeping each other awake Elies dad smiled at him and Elie wondered which world the smile came from. That was when he knew his Father was fighting for his life and it was only a matter of time. The reason i felt so strongly about that event was because I took it into my own point of view. I looked at it from my own eyes. Can you imagine lying in the freezing snow, no where near dressed for the weather, after running for hours non stop, with your father next to you and you cannot sleep but somehow your father pulls out a smile even when there was nothing happy in his life anymore. That part was just really heart wrenching for me because this man is dying and being treated horribly and starved to death but he still managed to put a tiny smile on his face to reassure his son it will be “okay”.
3. Elie had endured so many obstacles and torture at such a young age obviously he was going to experience changes. Elies view on god and his faith definitely diminished. Elie says “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my god and my soul and turned my dreams to dust”. For example, On Rosh Hashanah the Jews came together to celebrate while at the Bona concentration camp. This was where Elie wondered where god is and refused to bless gods name because of all the death and suffering he has allowed. Elie now believed man is stronger than god. This was kind of ironic because in the beginning of the novel Elie would pray to god every single day and he would be so involved with his praying he would cry every time. His father always questioned why but he never knew why, he just felt he needed to cry while praying. I think that when you see so much death and torture and you have your entire identity and individuality completely stripped from you and there is nothing you can say to stop it, that is just life changing in its own. After being torn away from your friends and your home and then being brought to this completely new environment where your forced to work or die. He was torn apart from his mother and sisters, he watched his father die and put his own life at risk just to save his dad, he took numerous beatings, didn't eat or drink for days at a time. Elie definitely lost a lot of faith and I think it made him question what “god” was really capable of doing. Elie does not reject god but he decided he wont accept his silence anymore. He realized all of his constant religious studying has prepared him for these death camps so he depends on himself, the man , to survive. Elie was confident in god in the beginning but nothing has recently given him any hope or reason to believe this man is capable of miracles. That is definitely a key change in this novel.
Another thing I noticed while reading, was that Elie was often repulsed by himself when he does things and witnesses things with out offering help as he would have when the circumstances were different. For example, In as early as chapter 3 Elie watched his Father being beaten as he chose to stay quiet because he learned to think of his own survival first.when he gets separated from his father and hopes in the back of his mind that his father will die peacefully or wont find him again because he is draining Elie of energy which he needs to survive. Elie was also disgusted with himself when he watched the people in the car fight for a piece of bread. He watched as people were were crushed and beaten to death over a bite and compares them to animals. Elie is very much aware that these experience are changing him. Although he does survive the camps, he is defeated physically and emotionally.Elie loses all the things that are important to him and make him who he was. Elie lost his faith in god and his ability to love others.
4. After reading this novel and basically feeling and seeing everything Elie Wiesel went through , I do not think I would be able to survive, Especially in his situation. I would not be able to sit there and watch my father die and try my best to save him but i might die in the process. I do not think I have that will power to sit there and watch my father be beaten and not do anything for my own protection. I give Elie so much credit for realizing what he had to do in order to survive and not let death be in his set of cards.He stayed strong when everything he had was being broken and I personally do not think I am any where near that strong. I would probably not survive the holocaust.

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