Elie Wiesel is a Jewish American author and Holocaust survivor. Wiesel's first book, 'Night', is an account of his experience in the concentration camp Auschwitz. This personal and vivid account launches a stream of consciousness, enlightening the reader to a new perception of various truths. This perception is approached through a trend of questions asked, and evoked throughout the text. Wiesel mostly stays away from definitive answers, and the ones provided are troubling. His use of questioning opens the readers mind to a world existing beyond preconceived notions. In a world where we all have varying perspectives, and limited exposure to global reality, this book allows the reader to transcend those limits.
There are both direct and evoked questions on the concept of faith throughout the story. The story's ending brings those questions to a broader perspective on faith. He gives a vivid depiction of victimization, connecting the reader to the reality of it. This brings the reader to question the prevalence or threat of victimization, and the extent to which it still exists. Wiesel challenges history, by defying it prior to 'Night', and chronicling it with the story. These challenges inspire the reader to incorporate this account into their perception of the world today. The reliability of history is questioned; Wiesel explores how dependence on history is dangerous, as well as the importance in knowing and understanding the past. The ideas grounded in 'Night' have evolved into a globally relevant consciousness pursuing a more wholesome understanding of human nature through questioning general perceptions on faith, victimization, and history.
Wiesel evokes questioning in 'Night' as a way of approaching response openly, rather than definitively, resulting in global relevance to the material. The story exposes the trouble in definitive answers. When Moshe the Beadle brings the news of the Jews being taken away from their homes, something he sees with his own eyes, the people of Sighet, in response, think, that he was imagining things.(7) Later in the story, on a train to Auschwitz, Madame Shacter is ignored, and then beaten for her foreshadowing cries of The fire, over there!(26) These characters' warnings challenged the perceived reality of the Jews who protested them. When characters outwardly challenge general perceptions, they are unsuccessful.
[...] Holocaust insists, therefore, that how we think and act needs revision in the face of those facts, unless one wishes to continue the same blindness that eventuated in the darkness of Night.”(Roth) This expansive perception on victimization could only have been made possible by the sharing of these events and their truth. Night explores the history of the Jewish people, along with chronicling the history of the time to give context to the state of the world today. Jewish history generally evokes a guideline for how to live, but when that history is challenged the guideline loses value. [...]
[...] But only about soup, an extra rassion of soup.”(113) The reality of such a perception evokes questions on many of the fundamental concepts in life. Fundamental concepts explored in Night, such as faith, victimization, and history serve to enhance this consciousness. The evocation of observing faith objectively provides insight towards understanding faith as it truly is. in spite of myself, a prayer formed inside me, a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed.”(91) Such paradoxical elements of this story open the reader's minds to the reality of faith. [...]
[...] This inquisitive perception allows the reader to find solace in events that are morally discouraging. When speaking of the Holocaust Wiesel said, “Something happened to God. Certainly something happened to the relations between man and God, man and man, man and himself.”(Estess) The effect the Holocaust had on moral faith has stood as a challenging issue since the end of the war. By inquiring the actual relations that Wiesel spoke of one can see how challenging ideas of faith can be formulated to accommodate the frightening past. [...]
[...] The change in Eliezer's perception of his father, following his beating, exposes a unique adolescent development. In discussing Eliezer's growth contrasting the general perception of the process from youth into adulthood, David Vanderwerken says, Night, Elie Wiesel inverts and reverses, even shatters, the elements of the traditional paradigm.”(Vanderwerken) The exposure of such a character evokes the reader to question their perception of what adolescence can entail. Along with evoking questions of adolescence, the story also challenges some traditional Jewish beliefs. [...]
[...] Only of bread.”(116) This detail of history evokes a change in one's perception of the value of freedom. The Globally relevant consciousness is defined by the insights, and altered perceptions, in the questions of Night, and it's expansive nature. Every person's perception of concepts, like faith, victimization, and history, is limited to each individual's personal experience and geographic location. The objectivity of this consciousness makes it helpful, and relatable to all. The concepts explored in Night are done so in a way to enhance the readers understanding of life. [...]
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