What are the steps which led to the Jews being shut into the ghetto in Chapter one and two?

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

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Wiesel's development of the narrative from chapters one to two rests in the words and actions of Moshe the Beadle.  As the first chapter opens, Moshe is convinced that his words of warning to the people of Sighet will save lives.  He, and we, are dismayed to find out that it does not.  In this, there begins a gradual progression where power quickly evaporates from those in Sighet and the sense of despair and futility begin to become more evident.  When Eliezer's father is introduced as a man of weight and significance in the town, one of the transition points between both his own emergence to powerlessness and movement of the book from chapter one to two is this idea that Eliezer's father really cannot do anything to stop what is about to happen.  Another transitional element between both chapters is the presence of German soldiers, something that does not raise "red flags" or initiate plans of action.  Instead, there is almost a passivity about it with some of the Sighet citizens housing German soldiers while they are making active plans about the village.  The forced wearing of the "Yellow Star" is another element that represents a step between how Sighet is constructed, the movement into the Ghetto, and deportation.  When Eliezer's father suggests that it is not entirely significant because one "doesn't die from it," it might be a reminder of how things are slowly changing for the very worse.

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