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Transcript of Night
" 'Life? I no longer care to live. I am alone. But I wanted to come back to warn you. Only no one is listening to me...' " (7)
This is an essential moment in Night. If Moishe the Beadle’s advice been heeded, if he had been listened to, the events following would have taken a drastic turn. If he had been believed, the town of Sighet could have evacuated; however, he was considered insane by many of the citizens of the town. As Shiv so beautifully explained in his speech, those that we consider insane, although ignored in the beginning, usually end up being correct in the end. This idea is exemplified later on in the book when we find out that all Moishe the Beadle said was true. His "warn" foreshadows the horrors to come and blindness of those who fail to see the signs.
"There no longer was any distinction between rich and poor, notables and the others; we were all people condemned to the same fate- still unknown. " (21)
At the most basic level, all human beings are equal. It doesn’t matter whether we become rich or notable in life; we are, at heart, the same as those of us who stay poor and unknown. In this quote all the citizens of Sighet are thrown back into a time before social classes, when the only thought was of survival. So, when they are all thrown in the same boat, condemned to the same fate, there is nothing money or power can do. The “poor” have as much of a chance at life as the “rich” do. Can you "distinguish between" who had a mansion and who lived in the streets in the photograph above?
" How long had we been standing in the freezing wind? One hour? A single hour? Sixty minutes? Surely it was a dream. " (37)
Repetition is used is many contexts, usually to emphasis an idea to the reader. In this case Elie Wiesel uses repetition to emphasis the elongated feeling of the passage of time. Elie Wiesel is trying to stress how that “single hour” felt like so much more. He gives clues, like the word “single” indicating that he felt like it must have been more than a “single hour.” Elie Wiesel uses repetition in this passage extremely effectively. He asks us, “how can time pass so slowly,” then answers himself, “surely it was a dream.” Why else would he be left out in the “freezing wind.” To Elie Wiesel, it must surely have felt like a dream.
" 'Where He is? This is where - hanging here from the gallows...' That night, the soup tasted of corpses." (65)
When children are hung, what is left of justice? What greater power would allow an act as heinous? What is left to put your faith in? All of these questions are passing through the minds of those present, until they begin to crack and lose their faith. Until they begin to believe God has died along with the young boy on the gallows. This quote illustrates how extreme hardships and pains can change people. Elie Wiesel used to be a religious person; in the beginning of the memoir, he asked to be taught out of the Kabbalah. However, at this point in the book he abandons his beliefs and views to question the morals of this greater being. Along with changing beliefs comes a new disgust with the world in general, shown in the line “that night, the soup tasted of corpse.” Out goes a belief in a perfect world and in comes a belief that this world can’t possibly be governed by fair and just laws.
" 'I have more faith in Hitler than anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to all Jewish people.' " (81)
Along with a lost "faith" in a greater being comes a losing of confidence in other nations. In this quote, a patient, lying on his deathbed, tells Elie that there is no help coming for them. There is nothing left to pray for. Elie Wiesel once believed that other nations would surely come to their rescue, but the patient tells him there is nothing and no one left to trust, except for Hitler "promises" and all of his cruelties. The "promises" Elie speaks of here are just the facts that he knows he can believe. Again Elie Wiesel is abandoned by his faith in another coming to his rescue. More and more he is beginning to believe he can only trust himself for help. More and more he is realize that his own survival rests on only his ability to stay alive. No higher being is going to grant him any miracles. No great nation is going to answer his pleas for help. The only person listening is Elie Wiesel. And that’s the only person who is going to give him any support. Here’s to independence…?
"We had been a hundred or so, in this wagon. Twelve of us left it." (103)
The number of deaths in the holocaust was staggering: over six million dead in approximately six years. But it was the killing on the small scale level that inflicted the most fear. To be part of a wagon packed tight with one hundred people and to be one of twelve who remain alive to walk out of it must make you think about your chances of survival. The"twelve" symbolize Elie's amazing luck to be still alive. Numbers of dead don’t mean much when they are on paper, but when you can put a name and face to those number, the deaths become startlingly real. When you were personally part of a wagon with only twelve survivors, the deaths seam so close. Seem so clear that you could have been one of those numbers. Just one of that six million, written about decades later by children, some of them your own age.
"His last word had been my name. He had called out to me and I had not answered." (112)
What does it take for you to ignore your own father’s calls when he is lying on his death bed? What does it take for you to ignore "his last word"? These questions were explored in Night. Elie Wiesel loved his father. He cared for him when he was hurt. He gave his own rations to his father when his father was hungry. When Elie "had not answered", something caused Elie to forget about his father when it was convenient. The cause of Elie Wiesel’s betrayal is the question of faith. Discussed before, Elie Wiesel was slowly losing his trust in external aid to prolong his survival. He was losing his faith in God, country, and, now, in his own father. Other Jewish captives had talked to him, explained to him when he was giving rations to his father, that he was only hurting himself. They told him his father was not going to make it, and by giving away his rations he was limiting his own survival. Slowly and unfortunately for his father, Elie Wiesel began to believe them. So when the end came for Elie Wiesel’s father, when Elie Wiesel could have given him one more chance, Elie Wiesel chose to leave him. And, in that moment, the last of Elie Wiesel’s faith and trust died with his father. Elie Wiesel was alone now. His survival was truly left in his hands only.
"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the little faces of the children whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.” (34)
Repetition at its finest. Elie Wiesel uses this repetition to plant fear in our hearts. To make us feel the fear he did. And, as an added effect, Elie Wiesel cleverly begins with the most general statements, descriptions of the setting, before venturing into descriptions of the heart and the feelings. Elie Wiesel sets us up with images in our minds. Then he fills those images with feelings of fear and horror. When Elie Wiesel saw those flames he was transfixed with fear he had never felt before. And he wanted to share that fear with us so we realize how horrifying the sight was he tried to place that fear inside of us, so that we “never shall forget”.
Mrs. Pham's Production
James Trousdale, and Shivam Patel