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In Night, how does Elie Wiesel deny that there is danger using anaphora, asyndeton, and...

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sanchez_becau... | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:59 AM via web

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In Night, how does Elie Wiesel deny that there is danger using anaphora, asyndeton, and irony?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:24 AM (Answer #1)

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To begin, one must understand the terms anaphora, asyndeton, and irony. Anaphora is the deliberate repetition of a phrase to illustrate a point. For example, an example of anaphora is as follows: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills" (Winston S. Churchill).

Anaphora in Elie Weisel's Night (used by him to deny any danger) is found on page four (taken from the "New Translation" and Oprah Book Club edition): "Why did I pray? Strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?" Here, Elie seems to think the question posed by Moishe to be absurd. Why does one do anything? For Elie, this seems to point out the fact that danger does not exist at all. Life is what it is, and it need not be feared. 

Although not illustrating the lack of fear, anaphora is found again on page thirty-four. Here, Elie repeats the words "never shall I forget." While it does not speak directly to denying danger, this repetition does illustrate that what Elie witnessed impacted him enough that it all exists as something he will never forget (not even the smallest details). 

Asyndeton is where conjunctions (such as and, yet, but, or, nor) have been omitted in order to quicken the pace of the sentence. An example of this is found on page thirty-five: "Dozens of inmates were there to receive us, sticks in hand, striking anywhere, anyone, without reason." Here, the omission of any conjunctions quickens the pace of the sentence. Elie's fear is obvious. As for an asyndeton which depicts that Elie does not possess any fear, I could not find one. 

Irony is what exists when one says something, yet he or she means something very different (or something very different happens). While it is not Elie speaking, irony is found when Elie's father fails to see the deadly nature of the yellow star: 

"The yellow star? So what? It's not lethal …"
(Poor Father! Of what then did you die?)

Ironically, the yellow star is what leads Elie's father to his death. While he does not fear the star, he should. This is, more specifically dramatic irony (where the reader knows what is to come and the character does not). 

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