What is the central moral issue that Wiesel is trying to express in the novel?

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

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I think that one of the most important moral issues that is evoked through Wiesel's work is that of memory.  Professor Rosenbaum embodies the moral importance of memory.  His being represents how the past must be relayed.  As time passes, this memory becomes essential and extremely important to one's being.  It is for this reason that it is significant that his memory is eroding, making it of greater importance that he is able to embrace the basic tenet of needing to relay the narrative of his past and the past of those who suffered.  For Wiesel, it seems that a worse fate than enduring the horrors of the past is to forget about them.  The role of memory serves as great moral importance because it represents a way to transmit one's experience and enables one to better understand and assess the present and future.  The moral lesson of past remembrance forms the basis of Professor Rosenbaum's character as well as that of his son.  In constructing the narrative in this light, Wiesel has made significant strides in suggesting that a modern horror of the Holocaust is the forgetting of it, something that he wishes to raise through the symbolic representations forged in the novel.


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