How can our world today benefit from the wisdom of the novel, Night, by Elie Wiesel?How has this book contributed to ethics and morality or changed your views of religious issues?
One of the most profound elements from Wiesel's work is the exploration of human cruelty. The book is a resounding statement on how individuals treat one another. I have always believed that individuals who seem to disparage the memory of the Holocaust should read Wiesel's work and then seek to make the same criticisms. Even transcending its historical time period, the issues raised in the work help to guide moral actions and develop one's own ethical sense of consciousness. Eliezer's questioning of faith and asking the questions of God that most would ask in times of crisis force one to engage in their own existential notion of faith, suffering, and redemption. Finally, I think that as atrocities are present today, reading Wiesel's work can help many understand that pain that accompanies political cruelty, the agony caused when nations allow their citizens to suffer, and how each individual has a moral obligation and responsibility to hear the cries of another human being.
I always have to remind my students halfway through reading Night that Elie wrote the book--so we know he survived. It's just so heavy to think about without that reminder. One other moment I appreciate in the novel is also a good reminder to me about why we need to read such writings. The incident which happens years later on the streets of Paris (or somewhere in France, anyway) when he meets the young woman who showed him kindness at the warehouse is significant, for instance. It always encourages me to know there were kind deeds and that, horrific as it all was, there can be a joy of sorts on the other side. Or at least a burden shared.
Any book that explore human suffering is important, because we live in a world of suffering. It has always been and if history is a indicator of the future, it will always be. Also when we deal with suffering, we are forced to ask who are the agents that bring suffering and who are the one that suffer. By asking these questions of our society, we will be more sensitive to the dynamics of suffering in our world. The next step is that we might be able to do something about it. We humans have a curiosity about us. We are forgetful of human evil. We need reminders that evil is never far away. To be on guard is wise and a great first step towards peace.
Night is a frightening book because it illuminates the evil that is hiding inside humankind. It is a book about selfishness, greed, corruption, and indifference to the suffering of others.
The biggest and most monumental lesson we can learn from this book today is to never turn a blind eye. Speak up. Help. Resist. When evil rears its ugly head, it is up to the rest of us to fight it back, lest it continue to grow and spread like Hitler's did.
Community service, world knowledge and empowerment need to be combined daily to ensure that these horrible crimes on a local and national and global scale are never allowed to returen.
Another way of thinking about this question is to consider why the author wrote this book. Consider his response in the introduction to the latest translation:
The witness has forced himself to testify. For the youth of today, for the children who will be born tomorrow. He does not want his past to become their future.
What better way to honour such an amazing survivor than by learning the sad and dark lesson of humanity's capacity to commit atrocities and ensure that such events do not happen again.
We can learn to recognize the precursors to genocide, as it follows a pattern, and as a world community of nations, we can act more aggresively against it, isolating those nations who pursue such policies, or even intervening militarily in cases such as Darfur. Such horrible acts are committed and usually gotten away with because people and nations who are able to help do nothing, and thus, they are complicit in such crimes.
This book explicitly documented the loss of one's personal faith in the face of atrocities perpetrated by man against man. It really makes one question how much would it take to destroy one's own faith? How bad would it have to get for one to give up the foundation of their being?
Elie Wiesel in his book "Night" shared with the world his own experiences as a Jew who was moved to a Jewish ghetto and transferred to several concentration camps. His book serves as a reminded of the atrocities of the Nazi party during the reighn of Adolph Hitler. Mr. Wiesel is frank and honest about his own relationship with God. He himself gains to peace through his faith. Prior to his incarceration he had been a devout Jew who studied the Talmud. He was alive with faith. After watching and experiencing the inhumane acts at the hands of the Nazi's he lost his belief in God.
Faith is something that must be defined by the individual person. While Elie lost his faith many other Holocaust victims found theirs during heir trials and tribulations. No man's journey to or from faith can be based on another man's experiences.
The book definitely teaches one that one man's concept of morality can be altered when there are underlying ideals and desires. Hitler and his party wanted to get rid of the Jews and obtain the resources of the Jews. In order to do this a large group of people participated in torturing and killing many millions of Jews and other socially unacceptable people. The Nazi party chose to follow the idea that Jews, Jehova Witnesses, Gypsies, and the disabled were worthless and had/would continue to contaminate the Aryan race.
Racism is destructive and can lead to the cruelest acts. The people in Germany and Europe closed their eyes at the time to the events that were happening around them. Many saw and knew what was going on but felt powerless or for safety reasons did not act in helping the Jews. Mass governments the world over also looked the other way. Wiesel hoped that his book would help to prevent people from ever allowing the occurrences of cruelty and genocide to occur again.
Wiesel made a commitment to the world through his literary contributions. While many cringe at the stories told throughout the book, it is a wake-up call that people need. Even in this century genocide has continued to be part of the cruelty of mankind.