Literature Review Chapter: Night, by Elie Wiesel Endless Night Ultimately

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Night, By Elie Wiesel

Endless Night

Ultimately, the struggle would cease -- silently, internally, and finally externally, as well. When faced with a supreme test of the human spirit, like author Elie Wiesel's protagonist, Eliezer, certainly was while caught in the death camps of the Nazi's during World War II in the semi-autobiographical novel Night, the human spirit essentially has two options: to either fight, or to give up. In many ways large and small, Wiesel's chronicling of the emotions and actions of Eliezer demonstrate that the young man chooses the latter option, and plummets the depths of apathy for the larger portion of this book. An analysis of the protagonist's apathetic progression from his first night within the death camp to one of the last passages of this book sufficiently proves this fact.

Eliezer's initial night in the Nazi death camps serves as a harbinger for the apathy that would characterize the majority of his thoughts and actions for the duration of this novel. When faced with the endless amount of horrors that he encounters on a daily basis while trapped by the Nazi's, the reasons for his compliance and his failure to struggle against his conditions are fairly plain. The following quotation proves that the apathy that typifies the young man's spirit is extremely palpable on his first night in the camps. "Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky…Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live" (Wiesel 32). The "silence" within this passage is indicative of the apathy that accompanies the tragedy that Eliezer witnesses during his first night in the death camps. Resistance and struggle is usually accompanied by noise. Apathy and acquiescence is typically characterized by silence. The "silent" sky and the "nocturnal" silence that have such a profound effect upon the narrator -- who no longer wants to live after witnessing the deaths of the children in this quotation -- prove that this apathy is all around Eliezer. His loss of a will to live proves this apathy is within him, as well.

Unfortunately for the narrator, the longer he stays within the differnt death camps that the Nazi's occupy and operate, the more apathetic he inherently becomes. In a highly practical sense, certain forms of organized religion serve as a means of apathy, because they mostly imply that if there is a problem all someone has to do is pray about it and God -- not necessarily a human being -- will make the problem go away. To that extent, the Jewish prisoner's faith in God, which is most prevalent during their early time in the death camps, symbolizes a type of apathy. The subsequent quotation in which Eliezer and his inmates apathetically watch a child hanged underscores this fact. "Where is God? Where is He?" someone behind me asked. .." (Wiesel 61) This quotation shows… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Night, by Elie Wiesel Endless Night Ultimately."  Essaytown.com.  June 3, 2012.  Accessed May 27, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/night-elie-wiesel-endless-ultimately/5537171.