|Type of paper:||Book review|
|Categories:||Concentration camps American literature Night|
Introduction'Night' is a book by Elie Wiesel, which was initially authored in French language and was published 1958 by Buenos Aires: Central union of polish Jews in Argentina. However, in 2006, an English version was published by the New York: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Wiesel and Marion 03). In contemporary social studies, the book is considered as one of the cornerstones of Holocaust literature.
Notably, this book can be termed as a slim volume of terrifying power. On the other hand, it is evident that the strength of the narrative was achieved at the expense of the truth and that it would be inaccurate to suggest that the work is purely factual as that would amount to ignoring literary sophistication. Nonetheless, I believe that the author did a great job in this book as he demonstrates that in the darkest of nights, faith is a force of will, which is apparent in the Night's revelation of the Abrahamic essence of religion.
Summary, characters, and plot of the book
The story is narrated by Eliezer, a Jewish teenager, who tells about his experiences with his father in the Nazi concentration camps. The story starts with Elie Wiesel meeting Moshe the Beadle in Sighet, Romania in 1941. Moshe influences Wiesel to commence studying the Torah and Jewish mystic, but all this comes crushing when police expel Moshe to Poland (Wiesel and Marion 15). Later in the story, it is revealed that in 1944, the Nazis start harassing the Jew of Sighet, and Elie's family are taken to Auschwitz and Buchenwald. It is here that his mother and sister are sent to the gas chamber, while Wiesel and his father are handpicked for hard labor.
The prisoners who are spared from death are forced to work under inhumane conditions, and the author narrates of unspeakable horrors which include the brutal hanging of a child (Wiesel and Marion 62). However, towards the end of his narration, Elie explains that when the Soviets army nears the concentration camp, the Nazi soldiers lead the prisoners in a death march. It is after the walk that Elie's father becomes too weak due to the hard labor and lack of food, and he eventually dies.
The setting of the story
The setting of the story is in Europe, at the height of the Second World War, and it recounts the experiences of Jews during the holocaust. As the story progresses, the reader is put on a mental journey from Transylvania town of Sighet to a ghetto, then to a cattle car, and after that, a series of concentration camps follow. These camps include Birkenau, Auschwitz, Buna, and lastly the Buchenwald. Each plot depicts a transition from the respect for human rights and freedoms to more demining conditions that disregard the value of human life. To sum it up, each new setting reveals increased violence, and the health of the prisoners deteriorates with no hopes of a happy future.
Exploration of style, language, and theme
The writing style of the book employs various techniques such as the use of irony, contrast, and unrealistic descriptions to describe the events that occurred. By applying these styles, critics have indicated that the author projects a tone of grief, confusion, and bitterness into his story. His language, however, is modest and tries to hide personal feelings in his narration, but at some points, he uses ambiguity to describe how some people die. For example, he claims that "falling back to the ground his face stained with soup... then moved no more" (Wiesel and Marion 57). The failure to explain how the man dies leaves the readers with questions in their minds, and one is bound to come up with their conclusion.
Concrete material that supports my opinion of the book
There hard evidence that reinforces my belief claim that Wiesel employs an almost unrealistic explanation of events. Such evidence is seen in instances where he claims that when he moves to the new camp, he is forced to stay in a shed, hurdled together one on top of the other with the rest of the Jews. At that point, the authors describe hearing the sound of the violin, where they wonder what was the violin in such gruesome circumstances. The existence of violin amid human remains strains the reader's imagination, and one cannot help but question the memory of Wiesel. In another example, one wonders how Juliek carried the violin on the death march. Without food and water, when each step refused to follow the next one, and how did he manage to play the instrument when the fingers were numb.
The story by Wiesel connects to the content area of language and social studies as it tells the painful experiences of the Jews during the Second World War. By the author employing the various writing styles, and the use of the first-person point of the narrative, students can learn the importance of personalizing a narration as it helps in capturing the attention of readers and creates a mental journal back in time. Also, the autobiography is essential as it helps in the preservation of history, and it is useful in contemporary social studies as it paints a firsthand picture of how things were during the holocaust.
In conclusion, Wiesel's work in the Night is outstanding as he explains the pains and sufferings that the Jewish people went through at the hands of the Nazis. However, his narration cannot be termed as purely factual as in some instances he seems to exaggerate the events to a point where it was practically impossible to survive. However, one would understand his narration as it is based on anger, shame, and frustrations of being victimized by the German forces. However, his work is worthy of the Nobel peace prize as it advocates for the rights of the marginalized people, and it's a bedrock of holocaust literature.
Wiesel, Elie, and Wiesel Marion. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006.
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