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Finding Light in the Darkness
Transcript of Finding Light in the Darkness
In the book Night by Elie Wiesel the theme ‘Finding Light in the Darkness’ is presented. This means finding the good, or light, in the bad (the darkness). Elie communicates this throughout the story through author’s craft. This includes figurative language; the events of the story, the characters and their responses to the events, and his purpose for writing the story help the reader to better understand the theme.
Studying our past helps us act on our future, because every group has its own behaviors that are passed on from generation to generation. Those behaviors are affected by society and the events around that group. By understanding those events we can understand why people act the way they do. And we can use that information to, potentially, predict people’s future actions. For example Jews tend to try to find hope in every situation, to ‘Find Light in the Darkness’. By studying Elie’s experience in the Holocaust we can better understand how that behavior became common. Elie had to find hope in an awful situation to survive. He did this after the first selection when he found out his name was not written down. ““Did they write me down?” “No,” (…) I began to laugh. I was happy. (…) At that moment the others did not matter! They had not written me down.” (Wiesel 72) Elie found hope when he was not written down in the selection even in an awful place (the concentration camp).
In the book Elie Wiesel shows light and dark through the events of the story. One example of this was during the first selection at Buna, “All the block inmates stood naked between the rows of bunks. This mist be how one stands for the Last Judgment. (…) Someone pushed me. It was my turn. I ran without looking back. (…) The race seemed endless; I felt as though I had been running for years… You are too skinny, you are too weak… At last I arrived. Exhausted. (…) “Did they write me down?” “No,” (…) I began to laugh. I was happy. (…) At that moment the others did not matter! They had not written me down.” (Wiesel 71&72) In this scene Elie is in a terrible situation, the SS are going through the camp and selecting those who are ‘inadequate’ to be killed. Elie highlights this dark by comparing the men standing waiting for the selection to standing for the Last Judgment before you die. But when he is told that he wasn’t written down he says he is happy. To be happy in such a dark situation shows great light. Elie highlights this not only by saying he was happy but also by saying that the others did not matter. Up to that point Elie had not only worried for himself, but for his father and the others at the camp. By saying that in that moment he did not care about the others means that he was so happy that his worries just went away.
Elie Wiesel uses symbolism to communicate the theme of ‘Finding Light in the Darkness’ throughout the book. One example of this is when the piece of bread the man attacked his father for when Elie was on the train Buchenwald. ““Meir, my little Meir! Don’t you recognize me… You’re killing your own father… I have bread… for you too… for you too…” (…) the other threw himself on him. The old man mumbled something, groaned, and died.” (Wiesel 101) The bread represents survival. The man attacked his father for that crust of bread because he saw it as his last chance to survive. He was starving and at that moment he was acting on pure instinct; the grief of killing his father would not kill him, but not eating that crust of bread would. To the men on the train who were fighting over the bread they were not fighting over bread, they were fighting over survival. Only one of them could get the bread, only one of them could survive.
Finding Light in the Darkness
By Michaela Freedman