Monday, April 18, 2011

Night by Elie Wiezel

Night is a phenomenal novel by Elie Wiesel that represents an accurate depiction of the life of a Jewish teenager during the Holocaust. The main character, Eliezer, is a teenager who lives in Hungarian Transylvania and analyzes both Jewish and Arabic literature. However, when his teacher, Moshe the Beadle, is deported, Elie’s entire life grinds to a stop. Moshe eventually returns and tells his students about the Gestapo who raided his train, brought everyone into the woods and began to systematically annihilate them one by one. However, everyone thinks Moshe is crazy and feigning the entire story. The Nazis slowly began to invade Hungary and started to pass many repressive laws against the Jews. The people of the town are loaded up onto train cars and brought to Auschwitz. Elie is separated from his mother and sister, although his father remains with them. The Jews are lined up and the Nazis decide whether they should be used for labor or killed on the spot. Elie and his dad are put to work, and on the way to their job they find infants being burned in mass numbers in the ovens. The Jews are all stripped and degraded before they arrive at a labor camp where they are put to work. Over the course of their stay at Auschwitz, the Jews are forced to watch their family and friends murdered, work themselves to death, and eventually resort to cruelty in order to defend themselves so that they may survive. Elie struggles with his faith and begins to wonder that although he has been taught his entire life that there MUST be a God, there could never be any higher being who serves to protect in a place like the concentration camp. After many long months inside of the camp, the Nazis make the executive decision to evacuate the camp because the Russians are approaching and want to liberate Auschwitz. The prisoners initiate a death march through a snow storm en route to Gleiwitz, another concentration camp. Most of the prisoners die because of the brutal weather, and the few survivors left are led to Buchenwald, another labor camp. Elie’s father dies of abuse and dysentery, and Elie continues suffering alone until the American army finally liberates the camp years later on April 11, 1945. This novel is an accurate and disturbing portrayal of the life of a young man during a time period which was unnerving and unsettling that many people today still deny the Holocaust ever happened. Night leaves many readers wondering what they themselves would do in Elie’s shoes, and how they would react to all of the events that Elie and many other prisoners endure. 1. After Elie’s time spent in the concentration camp, his faith in a God after seeing the brutal actions of the Nazis as well as the selfish actions of the prisoners in order to try and survive begins to falter. Do you think that the Holocaust and the cruelty of the Nazis proves that there could never be any divine being in the best interest of all humankind? 2. If you were the last person left in your family after so many tragic events such as the ones that fill Elie’s terrible life, would you have the strength to continue living or would you give up and accept your defeat?

8 comments:

Courtney R 5-6 said...

No, I do not think that is true at all. I believe in God even though many people don't. I think that God has a reason for everything that happens and I don't think that he controls anybody. I believe that He creates opportunities for people to do good things and allows people to have free will to do what they want. I don't think that someone can believe in God and expect every little thing to be perfect all the time; it is physically impossible for that to happen.

I'm not sure how I would react to something of that sort. I know it would be very hard to continue going on without accepting defeat because my family is no longer with me, but I also would like to believe that I would keep fighting in hopes that something better will eventually come my way.

Kelsey M. 13-14 said...

1. I don't think that the cruelty of the Nazis proves that there could never be any divine being in the best interest of all mankind. I do think that the Holocaust could give many people a reason not to believe in a divine being, like God. Personally I feel that if there is a divine being they could not be perfect and there needs to be some bad things in the world to shed light on the good things.

2. I think that it would be very difficult to continue on knowing that the rest of your family is gone. I think in order for me to keep going I would tell myself that my family would not want me to give up and give the horrible people what they want. So in order for me to keep living I would have to be living for my family members that had died.

Bojana D 11.12 said...

1. This is a difficult question to answer, and I'm sure everyone has their own opinions. I think that if I were alive and a victim of the Holocaust, I would not believe in God. Even today, I am not sure whether I belive or not.

2. I would try my best to continue living for the sake of my family. I would think that this is what they would want me to do.

MaryL11-12 said...

Question 2:
If I had gone through all the hardships that Elie went through, I would probably feel very defeated but I would never give up. Sometimes terrible things happen, and usually to really good people. It just tests them to see how much they can handle, and I'm sure that I could handle a lot. Defeat is not an option when it comes to being able to survive or not as far as I'm concerned.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Courtney-

I agree completely. I think that in order for people to truly love and appreciate the things that they have, bad things have to happen. For something as extreme as the Holocaust to occur is a rare occurance, but in order for people to be able to handle their future and prevent things from happening, they have to learn from their past.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Mary-

I think you have a very good point. People cannot allow themselves to be defeated and let that determine how they are going to live their lives. People should withstand the challenges that they face and use them as a reason to be stronger and wiser in the long run.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

Kelsey-

You are absolutely correct. I think the people that really love you the most always have your best interest at hearts, and even thought they may be gone, they would always want you to succeed and not allow their downfall to become the reason for either your death or suffering. They have raised you to be a survivor and definately want you to do so

Kristen T. 11-12 said...

2) I feel that this would be a very difficult situation to handle and to overcome. I could not even describe how alone I would feel if I were to lose all of my family and friends and be left with nothing but myself and the clothes on my back. I would feel very defeated, and it would be hard to continue to be hopeful for the future. I would not, however, let this get the best of me, as I feel that perseverance in a life or death situation is completely neccessary, regardless of the circumstances.