Examine the simile that the author uses in comparing Moshe the Beadle's appeareance?

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

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Wiesel's use of the clown simile effectively conveys Moshe the Beadle in both appearance and reception.  The first introduction to Moshe the Beadle is based off of this simile:

Physically, he was as awkward as a clown. His waiflike shyness made people smile. As for me, I liked his wide, dreamy eyes, gaz-ing off into the distance. 

The simile enables the reader to understand Moshe.  He was physically awkward and the clown simile illuminates this.  In the way he was viewed in the community, someone who is not really understood and kept at a distance, the clown simile also works. Moshe was an outsider.  In the same way that a clown is an outsider, not someone taken within, the simile conveys Moshe's being in Sighet.  The description of Moshe as a clown also reflects how the townspeople of Sighet viewed his spirituality.  They were amused by it, almost entertained.  When Moshe returns to warn them of what is going to happen, they cannot take him seriously.  In the end, the clown simile becomes reflective of how they dismiss him and the doom that awaits them in doing so.

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