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Transcript of Night
By Elie Wiesel
A Brief Visual Element
Despite this hopelessness, Wiesel dedicates his life to human rights. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Elie Wiesel had delivered a powerful message of peace, atonement and human dignity to the humanity
Loss of Faith
"Why do you pray?... Why did I pray? A strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?" (Wiesel: 2)
Elie’s innocence drives him towards learning the Torah and Cabbala
His teacher questions him and asks why he prays but he doesn’t really know
Demonstrates the amount of trust he has towards God
There were no prayers at his grave. No candles were lit to his memory. His last word was my name. A summons, to which I did not respond." (Wiesel: 106)
His tone of expressions says that there is a regret and sadness when he discusses the lack of a religious memorial for his father
"Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?" (Wiesel: 62)
Someone began to recite the Kaddish, a prayer for the dead over the deceased. For the first time, his anger ignites blasphemous thoughts within himself. Although, he has not fully detached himself from God
Loss of Faith
The Nazis treated Jews like inanimate objects. Every Jew in the camp had a number tattooed on their arm. They had lost their personal identities. Eliezer explains, "They tattooed numbers on our left arms. I became A-7713. From then on I had no other name." (Wiesel 42)"
Alive children were thrown into crematory. When Eliezer sees such an inhumane act, he looses faith in humanity. "They were burning little children. Babies! Yes, I saw it, saw it with my own eyes...those children in flames." (Weisel 30)
The relationship of Eliezer and his father evolves throughout the book. As the book begins Wiesel depicts his father as being a man who cared more about his work than his family. When Eliezer desires to study his religion with greater exploration, his father dismisses him as being too young. It is evdent that the two were not as close. Over the course of time in the concentration camps, Eliezer goes through rollercoasters of emotion regarding his father. At times his father is his life, and the only for him to live. At other times, he feels that his father is a burden. The last word that Elie hears from his father before his father's death is his name “Eliezer”.
Timeline of Eliezer's Relationship with his Father
Elie loves his father and would do anything for him
Elie starts to worry less about his father
Elie wishes that his father would die
Elie's father dies and he does not cry about it
"If he went to the right, I would go after him."(Wiesel, 29)
"I did not weep. I [was] free at last!" (106)
"Any anger I felt was directed, not against the Kapo, but against my father." (Wiesel, 52)
"It's too late to save your old father, I said to myself. You ought to be having two rations of bread, two rations of soup."
The song, Apologize, by OneRepublic can be uced to represent the relationship between Eliezer and his father.
Moshe the Beadle
The narrator of the book, and he is very interested in in Jewish mysticism, and his religious faith evolves during his time in concentration camps. Eventhough he cares about his father, he is mostly concerned with feeding himself and escaping Nazi brutality. During his time in the concentration camps, he sees alive children being burnt in crematoriums, and sons killing their fathers to get their ration of bread and soup. After liberation, his faith in God and humanity is demolished.
He is Eliezer's father, and he is very respected within the Jewish community of his hometown. He spends most of his time occupying himself with community affairs. He is a member of the Jewish Council, which is the first group to hear about deportation, and he refuses to try to escape the country. In the concentration camps, he and Eliezer take care of one another. He becomes very weak and sick, and catches a deadly case of dysentery. He dies on January 29, 1945, after an SS officer shatters his skull. His last word is a whispered "Eliezer."
Moshe the Beadle
A poor, humble man who works at the Hasidic synagogue in Sighet. He helps Eliezer to study the cabbala, and he teaches him that it is more important to ask God the right questions than to try to find the right answers. Early in the war, Moché is deported to Nazi concentration camps because he is a foreigner. He manages to escape and tries to warn the townspeople of the horrors of the Holocaust. They ignore him and think he's mad.
"I wanted to come back to Sighet to tell you the story of my death. So that you could prepare yourselves while there was still time. I wanted to come back, and to warn you.... no one will listen to me..." (Wiesel: 5)
Moshe the Beadle comes back as a survivor to narrate the abuse he had endured at the hands of the German police
The townspeople neglect him thinking he's gone mad.
“'Where is God? Where is He?' someone behind me asked....For more than half an hour [the child in the noose] stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face."
A child dies in front of the eyes of the prisoners and they could only watch him die a slow death
When a man questions where God is, the reply he receives is in form of silence
"'Where are we being taken?'...A secret from all except one: the President of the Jewish Council.'"
The President refused to let out any details though he knew the destruction they were in for
He was afraid that the Nazis would shoot him
Our first act as free men was to throw ourselves on to the provisions. We thought only of that. Not of revenge, not of our families." (Wiesel: 109)
In the end, when they are released, it's ironic that they don't think of revenge but choose to remain silent
Being caged within silence for many years empowers their ability to react
Night - The title of the novel symbolizes death, the death of innocence, childhood, faith, and millions of people. The title is a metaphor because during the night they don't receive any rest or relaxation instead, they have fear an anixety for the following morning. There is a symbolic meaning to 'Night' as well, Night can be seen mysterious/ unclear, that represents his life. He is not sure when he will find light at the end of the darkness.
Fire - Represents hell. No longer is fire a tool of the righteous to punish the wicked. It has become a tool of the wicked to punish the righteous. Fire also symbolizes death, this is why it Elie is afraid of fire- which means death. The flames represent frightening moments what the Jewish prisoner go through during the concentration camp. Another meaning to fire is foreshadowing, whenever a fire was started it meant someones' death was about to come soon. It represents power and control over the Jewish.
Silence - Symbolizes fear, apathy, and inability. Wiesel cannot comprehend that the world can remain silent as the Nazis commit atrocities. It also represents the silence of the oppressed. Silence may not seem important but, there is more behind the symbol. Elie shows how the people around were not affected by the fact Jewish people were being targeted, the world was silent. It shows a lot about humanity, people do not care unless it relates to them or effects them.
Corpses- Symbolize the living dead. Prisoners are often referred to as corpses, corpses whose spirits have been crushed by suffering. For example, the main character Elie, feels as if he just a body without spirits. He is just needed for his physical being not his inner spiritual side. At the end of the novel, Elie looks in the mirrors and he describes himself as a corpse; ruined childhood and innocence.
I'm holding on your rope, got me ten feet off the ground
And I'm hearing what you say, but I just can't make a sound
You tell me that you need me then you go and cut me down, but wait
You tell me that you're sorry, didn't think I'd turn around, and say (that)
"It's too late to apologize (it's too late) "
I said, "It's too late to apologize (it's too late) "
Analysis of Song in Relation to the Text
-"He looked us over as if we were a pack of leprous dogs hanging onto our lives."
-"Monday passed like a small summer cloud, like a dream in the first daylight hours."
-"Had I changed so much, then?"
-"Poor Father! Of what then did you die?"
Anaphora-deliberate repition of a word.
"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 for ever. 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 were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never"
-“A prolonged whistle pierced the air.”
-“Jealousy devoured us, consumed us.”
-“Ten thousand caps were back on our heads, at lightning speed.”
-"Jews, listen to me! I can see a fire! There are huge flames! It is a furnace."
-“After the war, I learned the fate of those who had remained at the infirmary. They were, quite simply, liberated by the Russians, two days after the evacuation.” Page 82
-Besides, this doctor has just come to finish off the sick.
-"The yellow Star? Oh well, what of it? You don't die of it"
Review by Jon Stephens (Professional Blogger)
-Night is a sobering and heartbreaking book written by holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel. Wiesel’s book is crucial as mankind should never forget what happened and should do everything possible to ensure something like that never happens again. Although Night is a short read, it remains a deeply emotional and important read.
-Martin Peretz, editor of The New Republic, writes "Wiesel is a public joke and a misapplication of the dignified Nobel Peace Prize."
In this literary criticism, the readers' reaction to the literature is considered vital to interpret the meaning of the text. The following critical reviews will enhance our understanding about what this literary lens means.
-These clashing ideas about the book show polarity in people's views about this book.
-In the reader response criticism, we would further analyze the negative review given by The New Republic editor. We would be intrested in finding the cause of his unappreciation for the book, Night.
When using New Historicism theory to analyze a piece of work, the reader must focus on the historical context of the period in which the book/work was written.
New Historicism assumes that every work is a product of the historic moment that created it The book, Night, reflects the struggles Jews faced during the Holocaust.
Majority of the literary works in history are based on the winners, the powerful, and the victorious' side. There are very few books that express opinions of the defeated, the less powerful. Night is an example of the work from the less powerful's perspective. Instead of staying silent, Wiesel chose to expose Nazi atrocities to the world
Are there words in the text that have changed their meaning from the time of the writing?
The meaning of the word "Ghetto" has evolved over the last part of 20th century.
During World War II, ghetto was the name given to a part of the city set up the Nazi regime to confine and segregate Jews.
However, during 1990's the word "ghetto" became a slang term used to describe something unpleasant or of poor quality.
How does the literary text function as part of a continuum with other historical/cultural works?
Many movies are being produced about Holocaust. For examples, The Boy in Stripped Pajamas; Life is Beautiful; and Amen etc.
Who was Elie's spiritual teacher?
a) Mushle the Readle
b) Moshe the Beadle
c) Moose the Needle
d) Moshe the Readle
Which army liberates Eliezer's concentration camp in April, 1945?
Name all the Holocaust movies mentioned in the presentation.
Name all the literary lenses applied to the book, Night in this presentation.