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Night by Elie Weisel

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sarah workman

on 12 April 2015

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Transcript of Night by Elie Weisel

Night
by Elie Weisel
Sarah Workman ENG 602

Pre-Reading
Viewing Steven Spielberg's documentary of Auschwitz
Discussion of prejudices
Students think about the following groups - what are their first impressions, how would they classify them, what are their feelings towards them, etc.
vegetarians, vegans, people of other races, goths, people sporting major bling, people with different colored hair, skaters, people from a different socio-economic class, athletes, obese or very thin people
Journal activities
What does it fee like to be an outsider?
What does it feel like to be an insider?
What does it feel like to be though of as "less worthy" because of your skin or hair color?
How important is it to be part a certain group?
How do you feel when you don't belong?
During Reading
Chapter questions to check for understanding of major events and points
Students complete teacher-made chapter questions to check for accurate reading and understanding
Kindness, Cruelty, Selfishness, and Unselfishness
Students complete a chart as they read on which they identify four examples for each category: kindness, cruelty, selfishness, and unselfishness
Students identify example and page number
Most students are surprised to be able to find four examples of kindness and unselfishness
Activity demonstrates the prisoners' determination to maintain their humanity during the Holocaust, which the Auschwitz documentary touched on
Post-Reading
Who is Responsible?
Students complete a pie graph for which they determine who was most responsible for creating the Holocaust and to what extent they are guilty of crimes against humanity, and provide rationale for choices
Choices include: residents of Auschwitz and other town near camps, minor Nazi soldiers who carried out extermination orders, top SS officers who executed the "final solution," Hitler, non-Jewish Europeans who turned against Jewish friends, leaders of Ally countries who saw evidence of Holocaust but who refused to get involved
After Reading Questions
Do you think you could maintain your faith after witnessing these atrocities?
How do you think you might have felt if you experienced and witnessed what Weisel did?
Why do you think Wiesel continues to speak about the Holocaust, even though the war has been over for more than sixty years?
How do you feel when you hear adults say that all adolescents are irresponsible, unintelligent, lazy, disrespectful, and uncaring?
What other ethnic conflicts still exist today?
Suggested Pairings
The Book Thief
, Marcus Zusak
The Diary of Anne Frank
, Anne Frank
Number the Stars
, Lois Lowry
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (film)
Poetry from Holocaust prisoners and survivors
Overview
Night
recounts Elie Wiesel's experiences leading up to and in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Without an outpouring of emotion regarding his experiences, Wiesel is still able to evoke powerful emotion from his readers. It is seemingly more upsetting to read about the horrors of the Holocaust presented in a, "Well, that's just what happened. That's just how life was," manner.

Wiesel, who was born in Sighet, Transylvania, studied both literature and religion as a young boy, the latter of which played a recurring role in Night. Throughout his experiences - being forced to move to a ghetto, then expelled and taken to Birkenau, moved to Auschwitz and other camps, losing his mother, father, and youngest sister forever - Wiesel struggled to retain some shred of faith. He even debated fasting on Yom Kippur despite overwhelming hunger to maintain his faith, though hunger won out.

The most moving portion of the book, for me anyway, is the very end; Wiesel looks into a mirror after being liberated and doesn't even recognize himself. It is difficult to imagine how much my life would have to change, how many new and terrifying experiences I would have to face to no longer recognize myself in the mirror.
Tale of a Sprinter - in the Winter of 1938
Sudeep Pagedar

THE PAST -

I am an athlete from Berlin,
my feet are fast and swift.
I can run faster than anyone!
Truly, this is the Lord's gift!

Any race I participate in,
I always come in first,
for I tell myself, "I HAVE to win";
it is like a great thirst.

Even if someone, somehow passes me,
I put on an extra burst of speed
and run past him, leaving him behind;
thus, I take the lead.

I once thought, "If I keep running this way,
I might be in the Olympics, some day..."

THE PRESENT -

But now the year is nineteen-thirty-eight
And for my dreams, it's just too late.

My running days are all gone,
I'm not going to see tomorrow's dawn.

Yes, it is true
that I can run very fast;
But it is also true
that I am a Jew...
There's no running, from the Holocaust.
Full transcript