Themes in “Night” by Elie Wiesel
THemes 1. ) Man’s inhumanity to man Removal of human looks that defined who they are * Same uniform * Cut hair to remove individuality. * “In a few seconds we had ceased to be men” 37 * “I became A-7713.
From then on, I had no other name”42 The harshness of the camp quickly transformed them into selfish indifferent people * “I had not even blinked, only yesterday I would have dug my nails into the criminals flesh” 39 * “you’re killing your father”101 * “The old man mumbled something, groaned and died. Nobody cared” 101 * “I shall never forgive myself.
Nor shall I forgive the world for having pushed me against the wall, for having turned me into a stranger, for having awakened in me the basest, most primitive instincts. ” Xii * “In this place, it is every man for himself, and you can not think of others. Not even your father. In this place there is no such thing as a father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone. ” * “All of a sudden, this pleasant and intelligent young man had changed. His eyes were shining with greed” The inhumane treatment of Jews “He looked at us like a pack of leprous dogs clinging to life” 38 * “If one of us stopped for a second, a quick shot eliminated the filthy dog” 85 * “Two cauldrons of hot, steaming soup had been left untended… supreme temptation “59 * “Hunger was tormenting us; we had not eaten for nearly six days” 114 * “We had been 100 or so in this wagon. Twelve of us left it” 103 * The removal of the Jew’s rights were the first sign of discrimination 2. ) Faith and Loss Loss of human life and integrity * “Those whose numbers had been noted were standing apart, abandoned by the whole world. 72 Faith in God and themselves made them stronger * “if only he could of kept his faith in God and considered this suffering as a divine test, he would not have been swept away by selection” * Have faith in life… by driving out despair you will move away from death” 41 * “a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed. Oh God master of the universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahu’s son has done. ” * “we mustn’t give up hope, even now as the sword hangs over our heads. ” Loss of faith in God made them weak “Where is God… hanging here from the gallows” 65 * “My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man. Without love or mercy. I was nothing but ashes now” 68 * “But as soon as he felt the first chinks in his faith, he lost all incentive to fight and opened the door to death” 77 * “I have more faith in Hitler than anybody else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises to the Jewish people. ” 81 * “ I suffer hell in my soul and in my flesh… how can anybody believe in this God of mercy” 3. ) Kindness in adversity Helping each other out in times of need Elie’s father made sure Elie didn’t “fall asleep forever” in the snow despite his exhaustion. Pg 88 * The French girl risked her life by saying to Elie in almost perfect German, “don’t cry. Keep your anger, your hate, for another day, for later. The day will come but not now… wait. Clench your teeth and wait” * “Elie even gave his dying father extra rations, despite being told to “stop giving your ration of bread and soup too your old father… in fact you should be getting his rations. ” * Working through the struggles together see father son relationships Elie and father * “No.
You’re eighteen… Not fifty. You’re forty. Dou you hear? Eighteen and forty. ” 30 4. ) Father/son relationship * Elie and his father * Elie’s father made sure Elie didn’t “fall asleep forever” in the snow despite his exhaustion. Pg 88 * “my father’s presence was the only thing that stopped me” 87 * “I had no right to let myself die. What would he do without me? I was his sole support. ” * “Elie even gave his dying father extra rations, despite being told to “stop giving your ration of bread and soup too your old father… in fact you should be getting his rations. ” * Rabbi Eliahu and his son “side by side they had endured the suffering , the blows; they had waited for their ration of bread and they had prayed” pg 91 * “he had felt his father growing weaker and, believing the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival. ”91 * The man on the train and his son * “You’re killing your father… I have bread for you too… for you to” 101 5. ) Conscience/remorse/indifference Indifference * “Since my father’s death, nothing mattered to me anymore” 113 * “The old man mumbled something, groaned and died.
Nobody cared” 101 * “we no longer feared death” 60 * “I was no longer arguing with him but death itself, with death that he had already chosen” 105 Manipulated conscience/Remorse * “deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last! * “I shall never forgive myself. Nor shall I forgive the world for having pushed me against the wall, for having turned me into a stranger, for having awakened in me the basest, most primitive instincts. ” Xii * “I gave him what was left of my soup.
But my heart was heavy, I was aware I was doing it grudgingly” 107 6. ) Survival and death Surviving by escaping reality * “All I had to do was close my eyes to see a whole world pass before me, to dream of another life” 87 * “He was forever praying or meditating to some Talmudic question. For him it was an escape from reality, from feeling the blows” 86 Stars = Jews Conflagration = the war, destruction The idea of death * A place to rest without suffering Surviving to rebel against God/Germans * “Something inside me rebelled against that death” 88 * “We had transcended everything – death, fatigue, our natural needs.
We were stronger than cold and hunger, stronger than the guns and the desire to die, doomed and rootles, nothing but numbers, we were the only men on earth” 87 * ”there was no longer any reason for me to fast. I no longer accepted god’s silence. As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest against him. ” Just going through the motions and not losing hope * “There were two of us: my body and I” 85 * “Don’t think, don’t stop, run” 86 * “No one was praying for the night to pass quickly. Night was an escape from reality, a time of rest. The stars were but sparks of the immense conflagration that was consuming us. “ The night was not nearly as bad as the day, only sparks of the war The Jews were just a part of the war * “Were this conflagration to be extinguished one day, nothing would be left in the sky but extinct stars and unseeing eyes. ” What would happen if the war is finished?. Unseeing eyes =The holocaust may be forgotten, people choose to not see the light of God (loss of faith) Gods light (stars) will be destroyed God has turned his back on the people Extinct stars = people losing faith in the light of God