List and explain 3 examples of how animal imagery is used throughout Night by Elie Wiesel.

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Before leaving for the camps, Elie Wiesel watches many of his acquaintances being led into the ghetto for a type of forced imprisonment. He notes:

They passed me by, like beaten dogs, with never a glance in my direction.

This comparison shows both the humiliation and the desperate position...

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Before leaving for the camps, Elie Wiesel watches many of his acquaintances being led into the ghetto for a type of forced imprisonment. He notes:

They passed me by, like beaten dogs, with never a glance in my direction.

This comparison shows both the humiliation and the desperate position of these people. He notes the Chief Rabbi in the group, and even he is powerless against these forces. They are utterly defeated as they are led away from their homes with only tiny bundles of their lives to take with them.

Later, Wiesel finds himself on a train en route to a concentration camp. An officer announces,

"There are eighty of you in the car. If anyone goes missing, you will all be shot, like dogs."

This next reference to dogs shows that the Germans don't consider their prisoners humans. And, in fact, they are not treated as such. The Germans don't allow them any water, force them to hand over any valuable possessions at threat of being shot if discovered later, and leave them to suffer in unbearable heat. By many standards, dogs would be treated much better than the Germans treat these human beings.

Just after this, Wiesel notes,

The world had become a hermetically sealed cattle car.

Again, this comparison is dehumanizing and also alludes to a possible outcome of traveling in such a manner: the possibility of death at the end of the journey. Throughout the autobiography, Wiesel uses images and comparisons such as these to show the lack of value German soldiers place on the lives of those they imprison.

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Eliezer and the other Jewish prisoners are herded aboard cattle trucks to be sent to Auschwitz. This indicates how the Nazis regard them as little more than animals. Later on, when the Red Army is fast approaching to liberate the camp, the inmates are forced to evacuate. But before they do, the Blockalteste orders the men to clean the blocks. This is so that the Russians will see that men lived here, not pigs. The Germans may have reduced the prisoners to the status of animals, but the men are determined to maintain what's left of their humanity.

Another reference to cattle comes in the scene where the Kapos choose the men for specific kinds of work. They point at the prisoners, saying "You . . . you . . . you!" as if they were choosing cattle or merchandise.

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Wiesel uses animal imagery throughout Night to show the dehumanizing effect of the concentration camp on both the prisoners and the guards. 

For example, when Elie's father is beaten by a gypsy at Auschwitz, Elie describes his father falling to the ground and "crawling back to his place on all fours." Elie's father has been treated so savagely that he becomes animal-like in his reactions. 

Both the prisoners and guards are at times described as wolves. For example, Elie describes the head of the tent as a German whose hands are "like a wolf's paws." The head of the tent is savage in his behavior and his comparison to a wolf expresses this savagery. 

Later, during an air raid, Elie describes two cauldrons of soup left over that no one dares to touch. He says that hundreds of prisoners eyed them covetously and describes the soup cauldrons as "two lambs, with a hundred wolves lying in wait for them." A lone prisoner approaches the soup, "crawling like a worm." In this example, the prisoners are so hungry that they have become the wolves or worms. They've been reduced by hunger and torture to animal-like states. In the concentration camp, everyone is animal-like because the barbarity is so great that it reduces the guards to animals and the prisoners to frightened creatures who only have their will to survive intact and whose humanity has otherwise been stripped away from them. 

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The use of animal imagery throughout the novel Night provides a compelling argument in regards to the Jews being simply regarded as nothing but animals to the Nazis.

In one example, Elie is describing the transport of Jews to the camps. Asa the Jews board the trains, Elie notices that his fellow Jews are passing him looking as if they were "beaten dogs."

Another example of animal imagery in the novel is seen when Elie is describing how the Jews were being herded through the synagogue. Here, the reference to cattle is apparent.

One last use of animal imagery appears when Elie is describing a point in time where Idek loses his mind. An unstable person, by either nature or through the ordeal he is facing, Idek has many moments where his behaviors are indescribable. In this example, Idek "leapt on me [Elie] like a wild animal." His behavior is no longer human. Instead, the behavior is seen as wild and uncivilized,much like the behaviors animals exhibit.

 

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