Night by Elie Wiesel is a pseudo-autobiography of his experience as a Jew in the Holocaust. He describes some things that he saw, and others that he heard about through the eyes of the main character Eliezer.
Night was featured on Oprah's Book List, which of course means 90% of women over 35 have read it, so I was surprised to see there were no nodes on it already.
Significance of Darkness in Elie Wiesel's Night
The book Night by Elie Wiesel has a significant title for several reasons. Wiesel uses the word ‘night’ in a physical, social, spiritual, and traditional sense.
Eliezer has several traumatic experiences at night. His father goes to the conference at night when they learn about the exile out of the ghetto. It is night when Eliezer arrives at the death camp Auschwitz, and it is pitch black when they begin their forced run. It seems that the most horrible things happen while it is night.
Night is really just the absence of light. In the Jewish religion, God is the light. Light was the first thing God created, and he dispels the darkness of suffering. Night, then, is the absence of God. Eliezer starts seriously questioning his faith towards the end of the book. Several other Jews start believing that God has truly left them, thereby leaving them in darkness.
Criminal acts are more frequently committed at night. This is because there is lesser chance of being discovered when you cannot be seen. The Nazis did everything they could to disguise how many people were killed, or that people were killed at all. They did not want to be discovered in their crimes and thereby pay for them. In that way, they committed them under the cover of night.
Night is commonly seen as the end of the day. It seems to the victims that the holocaust is the end of humanity and the end of God. However, in Jewish tradition, sunset and nightfall is the beginning of the day. This shows that there is still life to live when everything is over. Eliezer’s life must continue after he is liberated, even though his family’s lives do not.
In general, night is associated with everything bad in the world. To Eliezer, and hence Wiesel, the holocaust represents everything that could be wrong with the world: no humanity, no God, no law, and no fairness.
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