Book Night Essay

Pages: 4 (1279 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … Wiesel's Night

Night is a title that aptly reflects its message. In night, the obverse of day, all of life's normality is torpedoed. The son is made to look after the father; wanton murder is unleashed; God is concealed (as per the kabalistic statement that He is concealed at night); and people telling truths are shunted aside for desired fabrications. Just as at night reality is obliterated by obfuscation and surrealism, so was it the case in Wiesel's 'night'.

Eliezer, an adolescent scholar from a backwards Carpathian village, had spent his life in the Talmud and Yeshiva and was unaware of events in the outside world. He was aware that the Messiah would come one day, but was not expecting the Messiah in the form of the Germans. The first glimpse that his life would change was in the form of Moshe the Beadle who, in 1942, escaping from a Polish-bound train, returned to Sighet and pounded the village with horrendous facts about Jews forced to dig their own pits and then shot alive; about babies thrown in the air as shooting targets; about Malka, a young girl, who took three days to die.

As happens during the night when sleep assumes a different form of reality, the people of his town refused to listen making Moshe, Night's first unheeded witness.

He's just trying to make us pity him. What an imagination he has! they said. Or even: Poor fellow. He's gone mad.

And as for Moshe, he wept (Night, pp. 4 -- 5.)

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Day became inverted into night.

Reality became further more inverted, "The barbed wire which fenced us in did not cause us any real fear. We even thought ourselves rather well off; we were entirely self-contained…. -- it was an illusion" (Night, p. 9.) Wiesel relates how his rabbi, whom he, Eliezer, was formerly afraid of, was compelled to march through the street, his face shaved, his back bent "and there was I, on the pavement, unable to make a move." It was, Wiesel describes it, "like a page torn from some story book" (Night, pp.14-15).

TOPIC: Essay on Book Night Assignment

Refusal to face reality was exemplified by another situation where, on their third night in the cattle car, a woman shrieks that she can see flames until she is beaten into silence by the others. These were nightmares that could occur only at night, but they came true in Auschwitz. Here, the very young, the mentally and physically handicapped, the crippled, the pregnant, and the very old were cremated in an observe inversion of day where normality decrees that it is precisely this most vulnerable human sector that is protected.

Shlomo, Eliezer's father, begins his physical decline indicating another inversion of reality. Normally, the father is supposed to take care of the son; here roles were reversed. The young man become the older man's caregiver and was resentful since he felt the other's existence threatening his own.

In another inversion, kaddish, the Jewish prayer that is routinely said for the dead, was said by the living for themselves. In one scene, Eliezer watches a truck pull up and toss heaps of children, some of them alive, in a smoking pyre. His father standing next to him says Kaddish for the children. 15-year-old Eliezer wants to electrocute himself on the barbed wire, and feels that his father is saying kaddish for both of them too.

The episodes in Night were so horrific that it made normally decent people forsake their ethics due to necessity. Rabbi Eliyahu's son, who never forsook him during all those years, was forced to flee ahead, on a death march, leaving his father to grope for his supposed corpse in the snow. Wiesel swore never to do the same thing to his father. Yet, when the Germans beat his father for being unable to move,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Book Night.  (2011, March 22).  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/book-night/1720

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"Book Night."  Essaytown.com.  March 22, 2011.  Accessed August 2, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/book-night/1720.