Analysis of Night
Analysis of Night The book Night is a nonfiction book about the first-hand experience of the Holocaust. The author of the book is Elie Wiesel, known as Eliezer in the book. In the book Night, the author focuses on two major themes—human triumph and change—and he uses his experiences to give evidence of these themes. The author makes apparent that one of the major themes and focus points of his book is human triumph. Throughout the entire book, the main character, Eliezer, struggles to keep his head high. But in the end, it was his pursuit of life that kept him alive.
The first event in the book that really shows Eliezer’s pursuit for life and human triumph is when he is separated from his mother and sister. After Eliezer and his family are put into cattle cars, they are shipped to a destination where men and women are separated into two separate groups. Eliezer (the author) foreshadows that he will never see his mother and sister again. Already, in just the start to Eliezer’s journey, he has lost half of his family. Eliezer is far from giving up on his family and continues his journey. Eliezer makes it apparent that he doesn’t want to lose his father.
“My hand shifted on my father’s arm. I had one thought—not to lose him. Not to be left alone” (Wiesel 27). The only thing on his mind was staying by his side. This is an example of his human triumph. Another event that shows Eliezer’s human triumph is when there is an Allied air raid on Buna.
Buna is the camp in which Eliezer and his father are imprisoned. The Allies have come to try to help the people imprisoned. Eliezer and his father have hope that this will be the end of their horrific excursion. Sadly, their hope is crushed when they return to their barracks and resume what they were doing before. Even though Eliezer and his father had the hope that this event in their life would finally be over, and this prospect is squelched, they continue to fight for their lives. “In the afternoon we went cheerfully to clear away the ruins” (Wiesel 57).
This quote is when they thought they were being rescued from this nightmare, but after, they just had to pick up the rumbled ruins at the attempt for freedom. When winter turns cold for the camps, Eliezer gets a life-threatening buildup of fluid in his foot and must see a doctor immediately. He is told that he must have it operated on. Eliezer is afraid this is the end. Jews in the infirmary get selected to go to the crematory faster than healthier ones.
Eliezer is determined to get out of there as quick as possible so that he is not selected to go to the crematory. He goes to find his father to help him make the decision of whether to stay or go. “I did not go back to the hospital again. I returned to my block. My wound was open and bleeding; the snow had grown red where I had trodden” (Wiesel 78). Even with a bad foot, Eliezer decides to push through, instead of staying in the hospital to be selected for the crematory.
This shows that he was not willing to give up when the odds are put against him. It shows his human triumph. In a very tragic event, Eliezer’s father gets ill and is diagnosed with dysentery; because of this he dies. Eliezer feels both remorse and relief. He finds a way to move on, however (Wiesel 106). He and all the Jews are to be killed because the war is coming to an end.
They strike against the Nazis, so they are neither killed nor evacuated. The American Army arrives. Eliezer and the prisoners are saved: Then the resistance movement decided to act. Armed men suddenly rose up everywhere. Bursts of firing.
Grenades exploding. We children stayed flat on the ground in the block. The battle did not last long. Toward noon everything was quiet again. The SS had fled and the resistance had taken charge of the running of the camp.
At about six o’ clock in the evening, the first American tank stood at the gates of Buchenwald. (Wiesel 108) Even though Eliezer’s entire family is dead, he still fought to stay alive. Eliezer used his will to live and human triumph to continue on without his father and save himself. Even though he had no family alive, he continued on to survive the Holocaust. The second major theme that the author gives examples of throughout the entire book is change. If you look at the main character, Eliezer, from the start of his journey to the end, he has made many significant changes and developed as a character.
When Eliezer and his family are first evacuated from their homes, Eliezer and his father are separated from his mother and sister. Eliezer only has his father to hold onto. Throughout their entire journey, Eliezer and his father are inseparable. “Commotion. At all costs we must keep together” (Wiesel 27). Over time Eliezer becomes weighed down by the burden of his father.
His father has lost hope, and it is hard to keep up the spirit for the both of them. During an air raid, the Jews are sent to their barracks. Eliezer’s father refuses to move, and Eliezer is forced to leave him. After the raid Eliezer half-heartedly goes to look for his father. Eliezer can’t help but think how much easier it would be if his father just died. “But at the same moment this thought came into my mind: ‘Don’t let me find him! If only I could get rid of this dead weight, so that I could use all my strength to struggle for my own survival, and only worry about myself.
‘ Immediately I felt ashamed of myself, ashamed forever” (Wiesel 101). This change occurred throughout the book as Eliezer became mentally and emotionally weaker. Eliezer strictly studies Talmud, which is the Jewish law. Eliezer is very religious and very loyal to his God (Wiesel 2). As Eliezer and his father begin their journey, they begin to lose their faith in their god.
A New Year begins while Eliezer and his father are in a concentration camp. Usually during this time Jews celebrate Yom Kipper, which is a day for atonement. The Jews fast for all of the sins that they have committed. Eliezer and father don’t want to fast mainly because they have lost faith in their god. 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 in His great might He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many factories of death? How could I say to Him: “Blessed art Thou, Eternal, Master of the Universe, Who chose us from among the races to be tortured day and night, to see our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end in the crematory?” (Wiesel 63) Eliezer has lost faith in his God because he has given Eliezer nothing for him to believe in anymore. This demonstrates the theme of change and how the circumstances of a situation can change your views or feelings. Not only does Eliezer make changes throughout the book, but also his father makes significant changes that the reader does not expect. In the beginning Eliezer’s father was just as hopeful as he was. Each time a selection for the crematory came, he would fight for his life and find the pursuit to live.
It was after the New Year another selection occurred. Eliezer could tell that his father was weak. His father tried as hard as he could to make it through the selection for Eliezer’s sake. Towards the end, however, he began to lose the pursuit to live. Every so often, Jews would be moved from camp to camp. After each move Eliezer’s father would become weaker and weaker.
Eliezer and his father arrived at Buchenwald. When they arrive, Eliezer’s father refuses to move. When an air raid alerts, Eliezer is forced to leave his father. His father doesn’t care whether he himself lives or dies. “‘I can’t go on.
. . . This is the end. .
. . I’m going to die here. . . .
‘ He dragged me toward a hillock of snow from which emerged human shapes and ragged pieces of blanket. ‘Leave me,’ he said to me. ‘I can’t go on. . .
. Have mercy on me. . . ‘”(Wiesel 100). This change in Eliezer’s father made him enraged.
The only reason Eliezer had the ability to go on was for his father. After Eliezer’s father stops caring, Eliezer feels as if it would be easier if his father died. This is where you see the two different themes connect, to see a larger picture. Each theme that the author presented built on one another. It is shown how each of the themes intertwined for a greater meaning. When Eliezer’s father gives up on trying to live, this change causes a change in Eliezer, making him relieved when his father dies.
Even though his father dies, Eliezer is still able to move on. Before this change in Eliezer, he wouldn’t have been able to survive without his father. Now that he has changed, he is able to pursue on and survive the Holocaust. These two themes put together present a deeper meaning to the reader. It shows the struggles of the Holocaust and how family and relationships were one of the most important things to have throughout it.
This conveys the author’s point of view, showing his views on the topic of how important family was, even though in the end it may have been easier to fend for himself. The text shows that Eliezer probably wouldn’t have survived without the support and love of his father. Throughout the entire book the author uses experiences that help develop each theme represented in the book. The text shows how the themes interconnect to build a stronger reaction for the reader. The character lives in a concentration camp until he is freed on April 11th, 1945. When he sees himself in the mirror for the first time after the Holocaust, he doesn’t even recognize the person that he knew when he had just began his journey.
“From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.” In this, both themes are represented, showing how he used his human triumph to make it through the Holocaust, but how it has also changed him as a person. Works Cited Wiesel , Elie. Night.
New York: Hill and Wang, 1960. 1-109. Print.