Discuss Elie Weisel's struggles as a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Night is a biographical account of Elie Wiesel, a young Hungarian Jew who tells a poignant tale of the Nazi occupation of his homeland, the repressive policies of the Nazi regime, his subsequent deportation to the Auschwitz and Buchenwald Camps, and his loss of faith in God, mankind, and his own place in the universe. Night is the first book of a trilogy, Night, Dawn, Day, which reflects Wiesel's personal transformation into utter despair and darkness, and subsequent revival into a brighter future.
The reader must remember the context of the time when reading Night. Not only was the Jewish community far more cohesive than many modern communities, the horror of war in Europe changed the social and cultural matrix for families of this time. The reader is also listening to a teenager, Wiesel was only 16 when Buchenwald was liberated in 1945, but far more adult than most 16 year olds, having experienced and seen both the horrific evil side of humanity as well as the redemptive nature of his liberators. In his own words, Wiesel said," I wanted to show the end, the finality of the event. Everything came to an end ? man, history, literature, religion, God. There was nothing left. And yet we begin again with night" (46).
As a youth, Wiesel's background was of strict academic Judaism. He was exposed to a small stratum of human nature, certainly not one of even the slightest possibility that a society could target an ethnic group for total extermination and justify that through a policy of social and cultural superiority. The very nature of the evil of Nazism was foreign, not just to Wiesel, but to most Jews - they simply could not comprehend a group that would deport them, strip them of their ...