Free Reaction Paper To Elie Wiesel’s Night Book Review Example
Type of paper: Book Review
Topic: Judaism, Death, World, Middle East, Memoir, Suffering, World War 2, Faith
` In the aftermath of World War II and the devastating effects of the Jewish Holocaust at the hands of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts, Elie Wiesel has become one of the most famous World War II survivors who had endured great suffering and abuse at Auschwitz and other labor and concentration camps. Wiesel penned his memoir entitled Night in 1960, and he meticulously provided chilling details about his experiences. Born in 1928, Wiesel grew up in Sighet, a Transylvanian town that had been insulated from Fascist ideology. He studied both the Cabbala and the Talmud as a young. Trouble soon came to the town when a foreign Jew named Moshe the Beadle was expelled, yet the Jewish community ignored this incident. Indeed, the Jews in Wiesel’s community lead “normal” lives until 1943 despite the fact that World War II had erupted and torn Europe asunder four years prior. However, by the time Spring of 1944 came, Germany invaded Hungary, which then grafted the Jews in Sighet into Hitler’s agenda. Two makeshift Jewish ghettoes were quickly formed and functioned as a segway for the Jews to be sent to the death camp at Auschwitz.
Through his gripping personal accounts, Wiesel recounts the implacable process of Hitler’s Final Solution and the mass murder this plan entailed. \He juxtaposes gripping stories of death with tales about those who survived and the denigration of their own humanity as a result of what they witnessed and endured. One vivid and poignant description of Auschwitz is Madame Schachter’s deployment of fire as a trope for the death camp itself. She boldly exclaims that, “Jews, listen to me! I can see a fire! There are hige flames! It is a furnace!” Indeed, many of those sent to Auschwitz never left, as they met their fate and were cremated in the pews of Auschwitz. Wisel’s sister and mother were both murdered and cremated there, which leads Wiesel to question his own religious faith and belief in God. Nonetheless, beyond a story marked by quotidian tragedies, Wiesel also presents a narrative of triumph, as those who escaped death during the random selection process forged an imagined community in order to make it out alive. Although starved, these survivors worked hard to stay healthy and strong. Unfortunately, the pangs of hunger and daily suffering prompted some prisoners to resort to savage and uncivilized behavior. Wiesel recounts an incident in which a young boy steals food from his own father, an act that Wiesel articulates his utter shock and disgust at. Wiesel later witnesses the murder of his own father. One of Wiesel’s fellow prisoners described the ethics of the death camps as a dog eat dog world in which every man was forced to fight for himself in order to survive. Kinship bonds were broken, and each prisoner was alone and must do what he or she could to survive by any means necessary.
Once liberated, Wiesel looks at his own reflection in the mirror and describes himself as a walking corpse whose “look in his eyeshas never left me.” Wiesel’s gripping memoir highlights the lived experiences of a person who survived one of the most nefarious political mass murders in human history. Indeed, this memoir provides a valuable contribution to a burgeoning branch of literature that limns the art of barbarity and human bestiality as well as how suffering often forces people to valorize and confuse fantasy over reality in order to escape the corporeal pain they feel in the present. The title of the book in itself is telling, as it refers to the idea that Wiesel reiterates in his memoir that the night brought. It is natural for Wiesel to question his faith in God as a result of the death and destruction he witnessed and the nefarious capacity of the human being to exact violence on their fellow man. Nonetheless, Wiesel opts to use the power of his pen and language in order to retaliate against his oppressors and facilitate his own reintegration into the Jewish faith that he had almost abandoned.
Wiesel, Elie, and Marion Wiesel. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.