"Night" is narrated in first person point of view. Why is this type of narration effective in the novel?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The issue of a narrative's effectiveness will always be subjective.  Yet, I think that Wiesel's use of the first person form is truly effective in conveying the subject matter for a couple of reasons.  One reason is that the narrative is through a child's eyes, disbelieving at what human beings are capable of doing to one another.  In the first person mode of narration, it helps to bring out the real horror of the Holocaust, an experience that renders even the most seasoned and veteran of people as novices.  There are few better vehicles that can be used to convey the terror of the Holocaust than the eyes and words of a child, something that is maintained through the first person narrative.  At the same time, I think that the first person point of view helps to bring a sense of the universal to the Holocaust from the subjective.  Wiesel is seeking to make clear that the only way that issues such as the Holocaust can be avoided is when individuals possess the courage to talk about them and to be open about what one experiences.  In this, the first person, subjective form of the narrative is designed to bring out the universal from the subjective, seeking to externalize the internal.  This is made possible by the use of the first person form of narration, helping to increase the narrative's overall effectiveness on the reader.