Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor, professor, political activist, and a Nobel Prize laureate. He has authored 57 books including Night which is about his experiences during the Holocaust under the captivity of the German Nazi army. Other works done by Wiesel include Twilight; Dawn, Open Heart, Hostage, the Forgotten, Souls on Fire providing different experiences of the Holocaust (Wiesel, 2016). Wiesel is currently a professor teaching at humanities at Boston University, in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the President of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and a vocal political activist speaking against discrimination by race, religion or political affiliation (Wiesel, 2016). Through his personal experiences of total humiliation and disregard for human life in Hitlers death camps, Wiesel is a Messenger to humankind on the firsthand occurrences thus making him highly qualified to write the book Night.
The most notable book written by Wiesel is Night where he describes the death of innocents and the restoration of hope. The book is a narration of his experiences as a teenager under German captivity (Donadio, 2008). Hitler adopted laws to dehumanize Jews as he thought them to be inferior to the Germans. The book talks about Wiesels saddening experiences during Hitlers rule where they were tortured, engaged forced labor with a lot of prejudice and violence (Bloom, 2010). Wiesel is captured among other Jews and taken to concentration camps in Auschwitz-Birkenau and Buchenwald and subjected to inhumane forced labor. The suffering causes him to lose faith in humanity and God despite being a religious person. He describes the events as an incomparable evil that destroyed his trust in humans being born with a good heart (Wiesel & Wiesel, 2006). His views are later restored as becomes optimistic in God and mankind again. He manages to show the readers their responsibility in fighting hatred, racism and genocide.
In his book Night, Elie Wiesel conveys the depth of the evils committed during the Holocaust that causes the victims untold pain and suffering to the extent of losing faith in God as he believed that He cannot exist and permit such evils. Wiesel & Wiesel (2006), states never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Therefore, the book informs people of the horrors of the Holocaust in a more real way than historical books. The central themes include the loss religion, destruction of familial ties, and lack of hope (Bloom, 2010). By depicting the extraordinary painful experiences of a single Holocaust victim, the book seeks to condemn the act of indifference to the suffering of others and encourage the world to speak against the oppression of any kind on the basis of race or ethnic origin. Wiesel also encourages people to work towards building a greater future by not falling into bitterness and shame during tough moments.
The use of Night in the book helps Wiesel to support the main point. Night symbolizes the darkness faced by the Jews (Bloom, 2010). It was in the evening when the Nazi army captured them. Most murders committed were also committed at night including that of Wiesels father. Wiesel explains how people had to dig their graves before being shot dead. It further continues to explain how babies were thrown up and used as shooting targets by the soldiers (Wiesel &Wiesel, 2006). This depicts the night as a feared time that brought several uncertainties to the Jews. Most of the guards also left their posts at night to go and cry as they would not worry about their facial appearance (Wiesel &Wiesel, 2006). Wiesel also lost his faith in God at night of his fathers beating to death. In this regard, night is portrayed as a cruel double edged-sword that brought suffering to the Jews supporting the authors main point of writing the book. Through these experiences, Wiesel manages to convince the reader about the horrific nature of the Holocaust (Bloom, 2010).
Night is written from Elie Wiesels memoir detailing his experiences as a fifteen-year-old boy under the captivity of the Nazi army. The book is a mixture of Wiesels testimony and deposition making him the primary source of information (Donadio, 2008). Apart from his testimony, the book does not use any other primary or secondary sources. The book lacks a bibliography section that directs the reader for further reading. However, it provides a list of other books authored by Elie Wiesel to enhance the knowledge of the reader on the Holocaust experiences. The book also lacks pictures and maps that help the reader to grasp the reality of its presents. This could be attributed to the fact the author was a slave with access to digital photographing technology at the time of the occurrences.
The authors intended audience for this book is the general public that did not experience the hostilities of the Holocaust thus need to know what it was like for the victims (Donadio, 2008). It seeks to educate the public of the pains of indifference during the Holocaust hoping to teach them a lesson of uniting against racism. The other audience is the survivors of the holocaust who lost faith in God and humanity. The book seeks to encourage them through Wiesels restoration of faith and believe in God (Donadio, 2008). The book also carries a particular address to political leaders to prevent preach equality as no race is superior to the other. Most of all, the book seeks to help everyone embrace forgiveness for wrongs done to them by fellow human beings thus promote peace, love and harmony. Personally, Night is a masterpiece with a genuinely candid autobiographical account of the cruel happenings at the Nazi death camps and a crucial message against racism for the modern world. Therefore, I would recommend it to other readers because everyone must be sensitized of the consequences of racial indifference to prevent the Holocaust events from ever happening again.
Bloom, H. (2010). Elie Wiesel's Night. New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism.
Donadio, R. (2008). The Story of Elie Wiesels Night - Books - Review. Nytimes.com. Retrieved 10 May 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/books/review/Donadio-t.html?_r=0
Elie Wiesel. (2016). The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Retrieved 10 May 2016, from http://www.eliewieselfoundation.org/eliewiesel.aspx
Wiesel, E. & Wiesel, M. (2006). Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
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