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Wiesel’s reaction to the situation he finds himself in has always struck me as interesting. He reports what happens to him in an almost objective, journalistic way. This characterizes him as a survivor. He survives by focusing on the people around him and describing their actions, rather than his own feelings. Since this is a memoir, it makes sense that he would do so even looking back.
There are times when he does get emotional, and describe how he is actually feeling. He usually does this with metaphor. For example, from chapter 3:
"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed."
This quote is one of the few times when he describes how he feels, but he does so with the metaphor of night. Night is the overriding metaphor in this book, which is why he gave it the title. It relates to the theme of survival and reaction to darkness. Although we want to remain hidden and dormant in night, we cannot always do so. We must find a way to function.
Here’s another example of metaphorical and symbolic thinking from chapter 4:
"I was a body. Perhaps less than that even: a starved stomach. The stomach alone was aware of the passage of time."
There are many symbols in this book. The smoke coming out of the ovens, the hanging and the shoes are all symbols. They are symbols of death and destruction.
To me, one of the most memorable quotes for the entire book is spoken by another camp member in chapter 5.
"I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people."
This is, of course, the overriding conflict. The people never meet Hitler and never see him, but he has created the situation in which they find themselves and all of the other conflicts relate back to this.
I will provide you with some links to more quotes. The last link is a list of themes.
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