Comment on the passage "Never Shall I Forget" with reactions to meaning in Night.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Certainly, I think that the poem that is featured in the third section of the work is probably some of the most well- known writing from the work as well as about the Holocaust, in general.  It's highly powerful because of its role in memory.  The overall meaning of the poem is the idea that the Holocaust casts a shadow in memory that cannot be overcome.  This can be seen on the personal level of Eliezer, but can also be seen in a historical or social sense.  The Holocaust is a period where the belief of spiritual redemption, personal reclamation, and the idea of transcendence is questioned and in reading the poem, one can see this on multiple levels.  The idea of what "Night" is in the work is also brought out in the poem.  The "night" in question is Eliezer's first impressions of Birkenau that night, and also helps to bring out how Eliezer comes to understand what the Holocaust means to him.  At the same time, the idea of God and social salvation are both brought out in the poem as not elements that are automatically repudiated, but are questioned in the light of the Holocaust.  It is this aspect of questioning, something foreshadowed in Eliezer's conversations with Moshe the Beadle in the first chapter of the text, that ends up resonating from the poem, in Eliezer's experience, and in the mind of the reader upon reading it.  Bringing out even more complexity in the Holocaust, the poem accomplishes this and makes it highly relevant to the preeminence of the work.

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