Night, by Elie Wiesel Endless Literature Review

Excerpt from Literature Review :

This apathetic sentiment even envelops the narrator, as the following quotation demonstrates by showing that Eliezer knew that "the child was still alive when I passed him." Despite this fact, the narrator does nothing to help the child due to his extreme apathy. However, the narrator's apathy is proven most effectively by his silent answer to the question as to God's presence, which the subsequent quotation suggests. "Where is He? Here He is -- He is hanging here on this gallows. . . ." (Wiesel 61-62). This final quotation shows how extreme the apathy is that has taken over Eliezer's perceptions and actions. He does not even believe in God anymore, who he believes is as dead as the child will be who is hanging in front of him.

At the end of the manuscript, Eliezer believes that he is virtually as dead as the child who was hanged, and as the God who he ceased believing in midway through this novel. Death, of course, symbolizes the most extreme form of apathy, because there is no hope whatsoever for the dead (in the physical sense). Yet due to the all of the devastating events he has witnessed during his life in the Nazi camps, Eliezer feels dead inside. The subsequent passage proves this point quite readily. "One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen
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myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me" (Wiesel 108-109). This quotation underscores Eliezer's apathy. He regards the way that he looks and feels as akin to a "corpse." In this respect, the author is demonstrating that the character's physical attributes have taken on the apathy that have typified most of his internal thoughts and feelings during the duration of this novel. Eliezer's apathy, it seems, has taken a physical toll upon him as well.

Wiesel utilizes Night as a powerful character study of the trait of human nature which largely symbolizes the death of the struggle of the human spirit -- apathy. The author traces this disturbing development within Eliezer by chronicling the start of this feeling within him during his first night in the German death camp, and also by demonstrating his lack of faith in God and the physical toll that such apathy takes upon him. The crux of the matter of this sort of book is that given the circumstances that Eliezer endured, his apathy is really not disturbing at all. What is actually disturbing is that faced with the sort of odds that he goes up against throughout the plot of the novel, his apathy (and that of the other's depicted in the book) is extremely normal.


Wiesel, Elie. Night.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Bantam Books. 1982. Print.

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