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In your mind with through textual analysis, identify the most significant key image in...

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trister123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 22, 2012 at 2:28 AM via web

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In your mind with through textual analysis, identify the most significant key image in the narrative of Night by Elie Wiesel.

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

Posted May 22, 2012 at 9:33 AM (Answer #1)

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I find it difficult to narrow everything in the book down to one specific image.  I also find this difficult because Wiesel places so many images in the book.  There are so many mental pictures constructed throughout the book that it becomes difficult to reduce them to one.  Having said this, I think that the most significant image would have to be the hanging of the child, the pipel, at the end of chapter 4.  The hanging of a child is in its own right the most painful and brutal of images.  Yet, the manner in which Wiesel describes it becomes even more intense.  The child's small neck not being able to fully fit into the noose is what takes him about a 30 minutes, writhing, struggling to die.  In a chapter where it becomes evident that Eliezer's faith in divine redemption is waning, it makes sense that the hanging of the child becomes the critical image.  When Eliezer remarks that God is "hanging on this gallows," it helps to bring a sense of thematic importance to the image.  It becomes difficult to reconcile the notion of a benevolent God and divine figure with one that allows the hanging of a child in such a brutal manner.  In the child's hanging, the most intense image becomes the idea that God, himself, is allowing this to happen, helping to begin the process of Eliezer's repudiation of God.  In my mind, this becomes the critical reason why this image is so significant in terms of the narrative and the thematic implications of it.

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