In "Night", describe in detail the characters of Eliezer and Moishe the Beadle.  

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

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Eliezer is the main character of Night.  It is through his eyes we experience the horror and terror of the Nazis.  We see him mature and change before our eyes.  In a very sad and twisted way, Eliezer's story is a bildungsroman, a story of growth and change and is presented in the most horrific of conditions.  Yet, even in such sadness, children grow and age.  Eliezer's experiences are throughout the book, but one of the most powerful and compelling are his thoughts about and faith in God.  This becomes one of the most fascinating and sad aspects about the work.  The truth of the Nazis did much to raise questions in your Eliezer's mind about the presence of God in the fact of unspeakable cruelty and atrocities.  Additionally, Eliezer possess a very loyal and strong relationship to his father which is tested as his health deteriorates and the conditions become difficult for survival.  Moshe the Beadle is Eliezer's spiritual teacher in the village.  He serves as a symbol being a man of religious faith and teaching.  The peope in the village look at him with scorn and disdain, so much so that when he is captured by the Nazis and taken away, few, if any, voice opposition.  It is in this character where Wiesel seems to be taking the strongest of stands:  Silence when anyone is being persecuted is a nod to the aggressors.  Part of what makes the work extremely powerful is that while it speaks volumes about the aggressors and perpetrators of cruelty, it delivers an equally forceful message to those who stand in silence and permit such  atrocities to happen with their paralysis.  Moshe the beadle represents that result of silence.  Speaking out against injustice applies to everyone, even those whom we find distasteful or "different" than us.  The other symbolic feature that Moshe serves is when he- a man of God, a man who believes in God, a man who has given his life to God- is taken away and silenced, the symbolic representation is that God, himself, has been silenced.

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