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Symbols and Motifs in Night

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by

Joanna McDowell

on 15 October 2013

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Transcript of Symbols and Motifs in Night

"Night" by Elie Wiesel
Symbols and Motifs
What is a symbol?
Symbols in Night
Night
Corpses
Fire
What is a motif?
A symbol is something that
stands for
or
represents
something else.

A symbol communicates
meaning
.
1.
Night
2.
Fire
3.
Corpses
Example: When Elie's father is interrupted and they find out the Jews of Sighet will be forced to leave the ghettos.
Example: Page 21 (blue book)
"Night. No one was praying for the night to pass quickly. The starts were but sparks of the immense conflagration that was consuming us. Were this conflagration to be extinguished one day, nothing would be left in the sky but extinct stars and unseeing eyes."
Fire represents the Nazi's
power
and
control
over the Jews during the Holocaust.
The images of corpses in night represent the
literal
death of millions of Jews during the Holocaust.
Corpses also represent the
spiritual
death of many people such as Elie.
A motif is a reoccurring
subject
or
theme
within a work.
Night represents a world
without
the presence of God.
It also represents
suffering
that mostly occurs at night.
Can anyone think of any any examples of these symbols from the book?
Example: Madame Schacter's nightly cries of flames on the train
Example: Page 30 (blue book)
"'Over there. Do you see the chimney over there? Do you see it? And the flames, do you see them?' (Yes, we saw the flames.) 'Over there, that's where they will take you. Over there will be your grave...Don't you understand anythiing? You will be burned! Burned to a cinder! Turned to ashes!'"
Example: Page 115 (blue book)
"One day when I was able to get up, I decided to look at myself in the mirror on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me." -Elie
Motifs in Night
Literary Devices
1.
Tradition
2.
Night
3.
Silence
4.
Struggle with faith
Tradition
The Nazi's tried to get rid of the Jew's faith by
tattooing their arms
,
shaving their heads
, and
destroying their temples.
Example: Page 10 (blue book)
"The Eight Days of Passover...We drank, we are, we sang. The Bible commands us to rejoice during the eight days of celebration, but our hears were not in it. We wished the holiday would end so as not to have to pretend."

Example: The Jews who were killed did not get proper burial ceremonies with Kaddish prayers.
Night
As mentioned earlier, Wieser uses Night to represent the intense suffering and cruelty to his people.
Silence
Silence is used throughout the novel to represent the lack of help from
God
,
other countries
, and
fellow prisoners.
Struggle with Faith
Elie begins to struggle more as the story progresses to believe that God is
real
and
present
during the Holocaust.
Example: The men beating Madame Schactner on the train.
Example:
Page 32 (blue book)
" I pinched myself: Was I still alive? Was I awake? How was it possible that men, women, and children were being burned and that the world kept silent? No. All this could not be real. A nightmare perhaps..."
Example: Page 65 (blue book)
"Behind me, I heard the same man asking, 'For God's sake, where is God?'
And from within me, I heard a voice answer: 'Where He is? This is where--hanging here from this gallows...'
That night, the soup tasted of corpses."
A simile is a comparison that uses the words: "
like
"

or "
as
". (Ex: Our tent leader was a German. An assassin's face, fleshy lips, hands like a wolf's paws.)

A metaphor uses the word "
is
" to make a comparison between two seemingly unrelated subjects. (Ex: Mountains of prison garb. p 36)

Personification gives
human
qualities to
non-human
things.

(Ex: The ghetto was awake. p. 14)
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