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Night - Elie Wiesel
Transcript of Night - Elie Wiesel
Westbrook Honors English II
November-December 2012 What's the Holocaust? Rhetoric Thesis Identification Chapter 3: Night The Holocaust was the state-sponsored persecution of 13 million jews by the Nazi's and their collaborators.
Merriam-Webster definition of "holocaust"
holocaust - sacrifice consumed by fire. What Caused the Holocaust? Term Characteristics Classification Holocaust horror 13 million people killed
How Elie Wiesel Helps Us Comprehend Historical Context racism caused FEAR caused Jews Before The Holocaust SS Soldiers Jewish Workers 2 4 5 which led to led to Audience Elie Wiesel's audience is himself, the world, and the survivors. His purpose is to let the survivors know that they can vent about what happened to let themselves go and be free. His purpose is to let the world know about these events, so that they are not allowed to be repeated. Lastly, his purpose is to get these events (the holocaust) off his chest, so he can actually LIVE. Writer - His Purpose Elie Wiesel's subject:
To reconcile with the events that took place so that he can forgive himself, and his father; to sensitize and prevent these events from happening, and to reconcile with blaming his father. Eie Wiesel has to forgive himself, and his father, because he wants to be able to live freely without these thoughts of blame on his mind. Subject As the writer, Elie Wiesel's purpose is to recreate the Holocaust experience, he was actually in. Elie Wiesel's purpose is to put these images and his own experiences into his audience's head so that we can prevent it from happening again. Elie Wiesel is also trying to get his fellow survivors to be able to grasp this topic without fear, and to be able to move on with their lives. Elie Wiesel's final purpose is to make it so that he, himself is able to grasp the topic so that he can move on with his own life. The central idea of this book, is to let the reader witness the events taking place, right before the world's eyes, while subliminally listening to Elie Wiesel forgive himself, and his father for any blame that might have been placed upon them. Chapter 1: Moishe The Beadle Chapter 2: Mrs. Schachter Chapter 4: Where is God? Chapter 5: Rosh Hashanah Chapter 6: Poignant Little Corpse Chapter 7: "The Contagion" Chapter 8: "Free At Last" Chapter 9: The Mirror and The Corpse One of Elie Wiesel's first mentions of Moishe, was when he was describing the story Moishe was actually telling him. "He told me what happened to him and his companions…without passion or haste, they [Gestapo men] shot their prisoners [Jews], who were forced to approach their trench one by one after their necks." Moishe is describing what happened to him and instead of Elie and the rest of his community taking the warning, they ignored him. The Jews of Transylvania did not want to believe that Hitler would really try to hurt them, so instead they made excuses on why they shouldn't leave. "'The Red Army is advancing with giant strides... Hitler will not be able to harm us even if he wanted to.' Yes, we even doubted his resolve to exterminate us." Elie Wiesel is saying, that even though they were given multiple reasons to believe that Hitler was going to do harm, they held on to the positive. Mrs. Schachter's screams and yells were a warning to the Jews in the train with her. "'Jews look! Look at the fire! Look at the flames!'And as the train stopped, this time we saw flames rising from a tall chimney into the black sky." Mrs. Schachter tried multiple times to explain to them what type of dangers were coming. But instead, nobody listened, and they were awakened by their own ignorance. Elie Wiesel describes his first night in Birkenau.
"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my Soul, and turned my dreams to ashes.
Never shall I forget those things, even if I were condemned to live as long as God Himself.
This poem is describing to us what Elie Wiesel witnessed while he was in Birkenau. This poem is also letting us know how Elie Wiesel felt, and how he will continue to feel about the Holocaust and about his first night in a camp. Elie Wiesel starts to describe how slow time has gone by since they left their homes. "When had we left our homes? And the ghetto? And the train? Only a week ago? One night? One single night?" With him saying this, he is letting us know that while being kept there, they are not aware of what is going on in the world around them. One of Elie Wiesel’s few times describing a German. “Our tent leader was German. An assassin’s face, fleshy lips, hands resembling a wolf’s paws. The camps food had agreed with him: he could hardly move, he was so fat.”. Elie Wiesel is describing his face with such vivacity that we almost believe we are there. The way the Tent leader is described, shows us that Elie Wiesel has not forgotten anything, and has held on to every single detail. During the Holocaust, all of the inmates were slowly, but surely, dying of hunger and thirst. “The bread, the soup – those were my entire life. I was nothing but a body. Perhaps even less: a famished stomach. The stomach alone was measuring time.”. Time wasn’t being measured by time anymore. Since being in the camp, they could just measure by how hungry they were. Surely enough they kept moving, not knowing how bad it was going to get. For doing secretive things while on duty during the Holocaust was a big matter. An Oberkapo and Pipel was arrested once, on the spot because of guns they had. They hung them, leaving many people in shock. One person asked, “For God’s sake, where is God?”. Elie Wiesel heard a voice tell him that God was up there hanging from the rope. This meaning, that not only had the little pipel died, but God had died with him. The end of the year didn’t mean anything to the inmates, and they didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t know what was going to happen or anything. “On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the last day of that cursed year, the entire camp was agitated and every one of us felt the tension… The last day of the year. The word “last” had an odd ring to it. What if it were really the last day?”. Elie Wiesel and his fellow inmates don’t know what the word “last” means, while they are in that camp, because things aren’t normal. Selection during the Holocaust was very difficult for Elie Wiesel and his father. “One more hour. Then we would know the verdict: death or reprieve.”. They don’t know if his father is going to pass, because he has aged so much since they first got there. If a number is written down, his dad is going to the crematorium. This brings back the blame game, because Wiesel’s father speaking about how he was too old to start a new life came and bit him in the behind. He had the chance to escape. Now it’s too late. Inmates have to survive. “The SS made us increase our pace… Why not? Moving fast made us a little warmer. The blood flowed more readily in our veins. We had the feeling of being alive.”. In order for them to live, they have to follow all of the orders of the officers and all of their other authoritarians, regardless of the task. Reading this book, you would know that it is very cold outside and the inmates are being pushed to run to their next destination. Elie Wiesel and his father are on death’s edge running while being under-dressed, hungry, thirsty, and just plain unhealthy. Survival is very important, as earlier stated. “’Don’t let yourself be overcome by sleep, Eliezer. It’s dangerous to fall asleep in snow. One falls asleep forever. Come, my son, come. Get up…’… I was hearing my father’s words, but their meaning escaped me, as if he had asked me to carry the entire shed on my arms…”. Falling asleep in snow is just as dangerous as being in water, while not knowing how to swim. You can’t control what is happening to your body. If Elie doesn’t take heed in the warning his father is giving him, he could be in another disaster, or even worse: death. No longer a need to live. “Our minds numb with indifference. Here or elsewhere, what did it matter? Die today or tomorrow, or later?”. They think they’re going to die. In fact, most of them do. But its strength, and that little bit of hope that keeps them alive. Nothing phased the inmates. “Very close to us stood the tall chimney of the crematorium’s furnace. It no longer impressed us. It barely drew our attention.” They had seen so many gruesome things, that a simple furnace didn’t even move them. Being in those camps toughened those men. But not enough to keep them from fearing all things. Elie Wiesel’s father passed. “I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep. But I was out of tears. And deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at Last!”. He was so relieved that he didn’t have to take care of his father anymore. He could simply focus on himself. Then the guilt set in. Nothing matters anymore. “It no longer mattered. Since my father’s death, nothing mattered to me anymore.”. After losing something that matters a lot to someone, actions begin to change; that’s exactly what happened to Elie Wiesel. What did he want us to learn?
We can never let such horrific events take place in front of our eyes. It damages our outlook on everything. And it hurts people. Use him for an example.