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One’s perspective of the Holocaust is usually one of horror at the vast scope of the crimes against humanity, particularly the Jewish people, by the Nazis. We see the pictures of the camps, the gas chambers, the ovens, the mass graves, and wonder how such a thing could happen. We shudder at the idea of the physical suffering that occurred.
Night takes the focus off of physical suffering. While there is some description of Elie’s hunger, most of the emphasis is on the spiritual effect of his imprisonment. At one point he actually says that the Nazis “murdered my God forever.” This moves the reader’s perspective away from the physical, showing another side of what such dehumanizing treatment does to people.
Night made the suffering caused by the Holocaust real. It was able to instill empathy and understaning for those who suffered.
Elie Weisel, a survivor of the Holocaust outlines a tale of survival and courage in the face of complete dehumanitatiztion and demoralization. Though not unsaved, Elie Weisel survived this treatment to tell the world. In spite of everything that he saw (people going to the gas chambers, men, women, and children starving to death, the death of his own father and other family members) Weisel emerged with his faith.
Night is a story of faith and human survival. If one can go through something as horrific as this, we can survive anything. It is a story of hope.
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