Describe Wiesel's style in Night.

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

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The first person narrative nature of Night is what helps to make it so powerful.  It can never escape the mind of the reader that what is being read was actually experienced.  It was real.  It was alive.  Wiesel's first person technique and style of narration allows it to happen. Wiesel's use of juxtaposing flashbacks with post- Holocaust life also helps to make this effective in displaying how such memories provide a hold on his psyche and his maturation throughout consciousness.  Yet, on another level, I think that the style of using first person narration in the frame of "Eliezer" is something powerful.  We never see the main character referred to as Elie.  Yet, when we read the novella, we understand that the author is Elie Wiesel.  In this divergence, another very telling element is revealed in that there is some level of psychological distance between the horrific events of the Holocaust and the survivors.  There will always be some distance between fully embracing and absorbing what happened and the present experiences of living through it.  There is a contradiction because survivors of such an experience never escape what happened to them, indicating total immersion in it.  Yet, in the change in name, a stylistic technique that reflects psychological depth, there is a reality that indicates individuals can seek to find distance from that which will never leave them and their memories.

The characters that help frame the narrative are also significant in helping to bring out the themes of the novella.  The issues of religious faith, community, and solidarity are evoked through characters.  How they are treated are reflective of how these themes are developed.  Moshe the Beadle, Madame Schachter, Akiba Drumer, and the little boy who took half an hour to die on the gallows are all representative of this, characters who become more of stylistic devices to develop and bring out themes.  In this way, their lives are more than that of a death count on the Nazi mournful tally.  Rather, Wiesel gives them dignity in representing themes that help to define how human beings treat one another and how human cruelty can reach unspeakable proportions.

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lizalevine | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Written in first person narrative, the tone of NIGHT is quite lyrical.  Wiesel gives an account of historical facts, yet his writing reads like beautiful prose.  His use of various rhetorical devices (metaphor, simile, repetition, and above all, imagery) creates an astoundingly poignant piece of writing.  He narrates the horror of history with a skill usually reserved for fiction.  In particular, read aloud the hauntingly beautiful section begining with "Never shall I forget that night..."

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