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Can you explain the theme and idea of "witness" as seen in chapter 4 of Night and...

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shahafzbc | Student, Grade 11 | Honors

Posted September 28, 2013 at 4:35 PM via web

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Can you explain the theme and idea of "witness" as seen in chapter 4 of Night and explain which characters are witnesses and how? 

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Kay Morse | College Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:26 PM (Answer #1)

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One way the theme of "witnesses" is represented in chapter four is through what we now term solidarity: solidarity is sticking together, as witnesses together, to have added strength.

One of the early things Yossi says to Elie is that they should stick together for strength. The chapter continues on this theme as the Kommandos examine them and they run; as Elie's father gives him his own knife and spoon; as Elie's foot becomes swollen with cold and the doctor in the infirmary decisively declares to Elie, now alone and without strength, it must be removed; and as the Hungarian Jew next to him warns Elie to escape the selection held in the infirmary.

   Tibi and Yossi, who had changed Kommandos at the same time I did, came to urge me:
   "Let's stay together. It will make us stronger."
   Yossi was mumbling something. He was probably praying.

They are themselves witnesses to others' suffering, as Elie witnesses his father's, while others are witnesses to their own suffering, such as the Hungarian Jew and the Doctor witnessing Elie's illness. In contrast, the Kommandos are witnesses of a malevolent kind who witness their suffering but for merciless reasons.

Sources:

Kay Morse

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