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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
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
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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