Discuss how Eliezer's experience in Night parallel those by Primo Levi's to his initiation into Auschwitz written below?
Primo Levi, who was also at Auschwitz-Birkenau, wrote:
It is not possible to sink lower than this: no human condition is more miserable than this, nor could it conceivably be so. Nothing belongs to un any more; they have taken away our clothes, our shoes, even our hair; if we speakk, they will not listen, and if they listen, they will not understand. They will even take away our name: and if we want to keep it, we will have to find ourselves the strength to do so, to manage so that behind the name something of us, as we were, remains.
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I think that Eliezer's experiences in the narrative have some points of convergence and divergence with that exploration that Primo Levi offers. On one point, the initial assertion that "it is not possible to sink lower than this" is a valid one, shared by both. Eliezer finds nothing worse than his experience. Within it, the severance of all connective bonds to all that he once valued became evident. Eliezer struggles with the idea of possession. He tries to keep his shoes, only to be beaten for them. The clothes he wears are not his, as shown right before he leaves for his "Death march" and the victims are forced to wear layers upon layers of clothes that don't fit, making them all resemble "clowns." The name- taking comes down to the number on his left arm, A- 7713. Where there might be some significant point of divergence might be towards the end of the quote where Levi points out to the idea of "strength" and "remains." Eliezer speaks to the idea of pure survival as the most important element. This survival is not something that emboldens a positive narrative of human consciousness. Wiesel depicts how the need to survive causes parents to deny children, children to deny parents, members of community to deny one another. In his depiction, the real terror of the Holocaust was that the dehumanization that the Nazis perpetrated onto those who were their victims was so easily replicated to one another. Levi depicts an idea where it is clearly evident that resistance and strength amongst the victims is almost a moral and ethical imperative. Weisel's depiction differs a bit in that the targets of the Nazi aggression are both victim and victimizer simultaneously.
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