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Who was Madame Schächter in the novel Night?

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hartirath98 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 15, 2012 at 10:58 PM via web

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Who was Madame Schächter in the novel Night?

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

Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:42 PM (Answer #1)

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Madame Schächter is a character introduced relatively early in the novel Night (by Elie Wiesel). Madame Schächter is a woman who is on the same train as Elie (as a result of the moving of the Jewish people to concentration camps--as recalled by Elie in his novel). The importance of Madame Schächter's role in the novel is one which offers both foreshadowing and a grim view on how some people were regarded when exhibiting curious, or mad, behavior.

Madame Schächter begins to go mad on the train ride to Auschwitz. It is during the ride where she begins to rant about fire. She cries out to the other passengers, "I can see fire!" Fearful of her madness, some of the people on the train bind and gag Madame Schächter. It is not until they reach Auschwitz that the people on the train realize that a fire is actually burning. It is the fire of the furnaces (used to burn some brought to the camps).

The initial crying of "fire" denotes foreshadowing of what is to come, once the "passengers" reach their destination.

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