Good Literature Review About Literary Analysis: “Night" By Eli Wiesel
‘Night’ is a work of literature authored by Elie Wiesel’s work that narrates his experiences together with his father in concentration camps of Germany during the era of the Nazi rule. The author has used numerous stylistic devices to describe his experiences with his father in Nazi Germany. The devices range from figurative language, repetition, mood, and tone. The devices are used to make the experiences in the story easy to relate to and identify with the feelings of the characters.
When the Hungarian police come to evict the Jewish families and transport them to the ghetto, they scream at them to walk fast. The narrator says that that was the beginning of his hatred towards the Hungarian police. He says “they were our first oppressor; they were our first faces of hell and death” (Wiesel 15). The use of the word ‘hell’ has been used as a metaphor to show the cruelty with which they hastened the Jews families to concentration camps. The police are compared to faces of hell because of their brutality. The cruelty they meted at the Jew families was only equivalent to the suffering that is supposedly experienced in hell.
Moreover, narrative interruption is used when the narrator break into a prayer after the Jewish families reach the ghettos. The people are extremely worn out and because of this, they throw down their bundles and drop to the ground. Thereafter, the narrator engages in a prayer to God. He utters, “Oh God, Master of the Universe, in your infinite compassion, have mercy on us” (Wiesel 20). The author interrupts the narration by making the narrator communicate to God by reciting a short prayer. The prayer is used to show the powerlessness of the Jewish families to redeem themselves from the cruelty and mistreatment that was being directed at them.
The narrator, in his prayer, notes that there was no other master to answer to but God. The Hungarian police had assumed the authority over the families, and this was in dispute with God’s position as the only Master of the Universe. Moreover, the narrator’s prayer indicates that God’s compassion was infinite. Therefore, the narrator seeks God’s intervention so that they can be saved from the hands of the cruel Hungarian police. The underlying message is that, God presides over the entire universe, and his compassion would not let the brutal police continue mistreating the Jewish families.
Additionally, while, in the ghetto, the narrator’s mother repeats to him that “we cannot give up, we cannot give up” (Wiesel 20). The use of repetition shows the determination and the belief of the narrator’s mother in things becoming better; of the deplorable life in the ghetto reaching an end and their life taking a turn for the good. This reassurance of a parent to a child was necessary so as to assuage any hopelessness the narrator was having.
Another instance where repetition has been used extensively is on page 34 during which the narrator's father is separated from him after being plunged into the pit that of infernal heat. The narrator utters emotionally “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke” (Wiesel, 34). The phrase “never shall I forget” has been repeated seven times at the beginning of each sentence. The repetition serves to show the immense brutality that was meted to the Jews on the first day the narrator was at the concentration camp. The plunging of the narrator’s relatives into a pit with fire is something that will stay forever with him. This amount of brutality was just beyond his understanding and it he had constant memories of that it from his mind. The repetition serves to stress the devastation in the narrator’s voice and show how brutal the events of that day were.
Additionally, the author uses similes extensively to create a picture in a reader’s mind of how things looked like. He compares the gathering of people at the ghetto to a marketplace (Wiesel, 15). The direct comparison is used indicate that there were many who had been assembled at the ghetto. Jewish families had been uprooted from their homes and taken to the ghetto to spend time there as they waited for their fate. The narrator uses similes even more when he compares the weariness the people were experiencing to molten lead. He utters, “weariness had settled into our veins, our limbs, our brains, like molten lead” (Wiesel 16).
This comparison is used to show the intensity of their weariness. Molten lead is a heavy substance and relating it to the weariness of the people serves to show that the people were fatigued. The tiredness pervaded every part of their bodies; the veins, brains, and limbs. This amount of tiredness serves to show the amount of mistreatment that was being meted to the people. The mistreatment denied them the freedom to make personal life journeys and to think for themselves.
Moreover, the author uses tonal variations to show anger and brutality of the Hungarian police. When they entered the ghetto that housed Jewish families that had gathered there, they started yelling in nearby streets uttering “All Jews, outside! Hurry!” ( Wiesel 16). Their tone was full of anger against the Jewish people who had gathered in the ghetto. They are incessantly engaged in issuing orders to Jewish people, and there is no tinge of respect or love in their voice. The Hungarian police harbored immense hatred towards the Jewish people, and that is why they were hastening them to get out of the ghetto fast and moving them to a new location.
Furthermore, while still at the ghetto, the narrator gives his thoughts about the night. This instance is filled with immense irony. The night is ironically used to show how the people’s hope was degenerating fast. Nights are characterized by darkness and gloom whereas days are characterized by sunshine, light, and warmth. However, the narrator together with other Jews gathered in the ghetto find meaning in the night. To them, the night was a relief, and none of the people at the ghetto wished the night to pass quickly. The night was laden with several amusements that the narrator enjoyed seeing. During the night, the stars sparkled and brought about conflagrations that the people enjoying seeing (Wiesel 21). The stars make the nights lively and hence livable. The narrator reasons that if the stars are extinguished on any particular day, the sky will become empty, and people will not be able to see in the night (Wiesel 21). Essentially, what the narrator hints at is the deterioration of their conditions. If the people are made to die, a community will lose its sons and daughters who are supposed to carry on with the legacy of the community. It will be gloom and darkness forever because of the absence of people to illuminate this community and propagate the community through the next generations.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. Penguin UK, 2012.
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