Last Updated 04 Jan 2023

The Symbol of Fire During the Holocaust in the Novel, Night by Elie Wiesel

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Fire has been used as a source of warmth, comfort, and light since it was first discovered by man. Ironically, this same fire can be used as a weapon. Throughout history, mankind has used fire as a weapon; often for protection, but occasionally as a tool to slaughter and consume others. During World War II, fire is used by the Nazis to both kill prisoners and inspire fear. Fire is used to symbolize murder. power. and authority, yet it also symbolizes the candles of hope that are extinguished one by one each time the Red Army fails to save the prisoners. Without the fire motif. many of the events in mm would have no meaning. The murder of prisoners through crematoriums occurs often, and even occurs to little children. "Babies! Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes children thrown into the flames“.

The Nazis used fire to represent their power and authority. Fire makes many of the threats made by the Nazis more meaningful. In addition to this, fire is used to show absolute authority over the concentration camp prisoners. Additionally, the fire motif is used to represent the candles of hope owned by the prisoners, “The Red Army is advancing with giant strides. Hitler will not be able to harm us, even if he wants to.” The Russian army was often known as the Red Army, which is a color that often represents fire. Soon afterward, it is shown to be a false hope, as Hitler does harm the prisoners, and the Red Army does not come and extinguish the fires that are murdering the prisoners.

This same hope repeats itself twice more throughout the novel but never comes to fruition. The hopes are repeatedly extinguished by the Nazis. This can be related to an ironic menorah. Rather than the menorah being gradually lit, it is gradually extinguished. Furthermore, the menorah burned for eight days using only one day of oil. This could be related to the prolonged persecution of the Jews. From this, it is apparent that every event. No matter how unrelated it may seem is related to fire. The omnipresent fire motif is used to show the dangerous aspect of fire; Both literally, through murder, and figuratively. Through the extinguishment of hopes. but also adds an in-depth meaning to the events of Mm.

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