In Night, Wiesel bluntly writes: "And then one day all foreign Jews were expelled from Sighet. And Moshe the Beadle was a foreigner" (p. 6). Why do you suppose this shocking information is...

In Night, Wiesel bluntly writes: "And then one day all foreign Jews were expelled from Sighet. And Moshe the Beadle was a foreigner" (p. 6). Why do you suppose this shocking information is delivered so matter-of-factly? What is the point of Wiesel's abruptness?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this particular section, Wiesel writes with a blunt approach to emphasize the way life and death decisions were made during the Holocaust.

When pondering the vast amount of death and suffering that took place during the Holocaust, it would be reasonable to think that there was dramatic agony associated with making such decisions.  However, one of the reasons that Night is so effective is because Wiesel suggests that these decisions were made impersonally and bluntly.  They were indifferent directives.  For example, when Moshe is expelled from Sighet, his entire life changes.  He is forced to pretend he was dead as the Nazis took people and executed them in a large heap.  Moshe saw babies used as target practice as they were thrown in the air.  His entire world view changes when he is expelled from Sighet.  

However, such change is undercut with the way that the Nazis approached these decisions.  They did not express barbarism with excessive displays of fanatical gleam.  Rather, they issued directives and orders.  They made such decisions with cold precision, using bureaucratic efficiency to mask how millions of people were going to die and suffer.  For example, "The Final Solution" to exterminate an entire race of people was communicated in an interoffice memorandum.  When Wiesel writes in a blunt and frank manner, he uses literary style to communicate historical reality.  He writes of the events the way the Nazis perpetrated crimes against humanity.  Murder and butchery was carried out without passion and with indifference.  

The evil perpetrated in the Holocaust was banal.  It became part of daily life. It did not even register in the minds of those doing it. In writing with a blunt style at specific moments, Wiesel uses literary technique to communicate historical reality.   This is seen when Wiesel describes how the decision was made to break up his family in Auschwitz- Birkenau:

"Men to the left! Women to the right!"

Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight simple, short words. Yet that was the moment when I left my mother.

Words that were delivered "indifferently, without emotion" were communicated in a matter of fact demeanor.  It causes a great disconnect within the reader to recognize that decisions and words that transformed the lives of millions of people could be said with such blunt directness.  At these moments in the text, Wiesel's style of writing helps to firmly embed the terror of the Holocaust in the reader's mind.

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Night

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