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Summary: Night By Elie Wiesel Essay, Research Paper

Summary: Night by Elie Wiesel

Wiesel’s Night is about what the Holocaust did, not

just to the Jews, but by extension, to humanity. People all

over the world were devastated by this atrocious act, and

there are still people today who haven’t overcome the

effects.

One of the many horrible acts that stands out occurs

at the end of the war, when Elie and the rest of the camp of

Buna are being forced to transfer to Gleiwitz. This transfer

is a long and tiring journey for all who are involved. The

weather is painfully cold, and snow fell heavily. The

distance they have to travel, is greater than most people

today will even dream of walking. The mass of prisoners are

often forced to run, and if one collapses, is injured, or

simply can no longer bear the pain, they are shot or

trampled without pity.

An image that secures itself in Elie’s memory is that

of Rabbi Eliahou’s son’s leaving the Rabbi for dead. The

Rabbi and his son are running together when the father

begins to grow tired. As the Rabbi falls farther and farther

behind his son, his son runs on, pretending not to see what

is happening to his father. This spectacle causes Elie to

think of what he would do if his father ever became as weak

as the Rabbi. He decides that he would never leave his

father, even if staying with him would be the cause of his

death.

The German forces are so adept at breaking the

spirits of the Jews that we can see the effects throughout

Elie’s novel. Elie’s faith in God, above all other things,

is strong at the beginning of the novel, but grows weaker as

it goes on. The incident that perhaps has the greatest

effect on Elie is the hanging of the pipel. He is a young

boy with an “innocent face” who is condemned to death

because he is implicated in a conspiracy which results in a

German building being destroyed. When the time for the

hanging approaches, the Lagerkapo refuses to kick out the

chair, so SS officers are assigned to do it. Unlike the

necks of those who are hung, the young boy’s neck does not

break when he falls, and he suffers for over a half-hour.

The suffering of the child is comparable to the suffering

endured by many Jews during the Holocaust. He fought for his

life, at times even seeing a bit of hope, only to be

destroyed in the end. The Jews fought for everything they

had, from their possessions at the beginning, to their lives

at the end. The result, however, was the same.

At the end of the war, Elie looks into the mirror,

and says he saw “a corpse.” This “corpse” is Elie’s body,

but it has been robbed of its soul. This is similar to the

loss suffered by people all over the world. Those not

directly involved with the Holocaust were still alive

physically, but their mind and spirit had long been dead. By

the end of the war, Elie loses all of his faith in God and

his fellow man, and this is the most difficult obstacle to

overcome when he is released.


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