How does author Elie Wiesel use symbolism to contribute to the meaning of Night?      

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his book Night, Elie Wiesel uses symbolism throughout to enhance the text. First of all, the title itself is symbolic. The word "night" is repeated several times in different contexts. Night is death. Night is when one cannot see what is coming. It is a frightening time, especially for the Jews in concentration camps. They never know what is going to happen next. Some examples:

"Night fell." (Wiesel 10)

"An endless night." (Wiesel 24)

"As soon as night fell, she began to scream." (Wiesel 24)

"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." (Wiesel 32)

Another symbol in Night is fire. Early on, Madame Schacter sees fires burning in a vision she experiences as the Jews are transported on the train. The other Jews think she has lost her mind, but when they arrive at Auschwitz, there it is. The fire that burns people alive is right in front of them. Fire also symbolizes Wiesel's feelings about God.  God is gone--burned up like a fire and no longer present as far as Wiesel is concerned. And most significantly, fire is symbolic of the living Hell in which the Jews barely exist.

These are just two of the many symbols found in Night; each has an important meaning and gives Wiesel's story power.

 

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