At one point when Wiesel finds that he and his father will be working together, he says simply and ironically, “We were lucky."How does his stark, detached tone affect you as a reader? Would it...

At one point when Wiesel finds that he and his father will be working together, he says simply and ironically, “We were lucky."

How does his stark, detached tone affect you as a reader? Would it be more effective or engrossing if it were more emotional?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most profound aspects of Wiesel's work is his blunt and direct honesty about a moment in history where so much is confused between candor and delusion.  One of the disturbing legacies left in the wake of the Holocaust was the inability to openly discuss its realities.  Wiesel tears the mask off of this silence and through candor and openness examines the Holocaust and its effect in both aggressors and victims.  The stark and detached tone that is adopted at times brings attention to the central plight of those who were subjected to Nazi cruelty:  Mere survival became the driving force of consciousness.  It would be pleasant to hear of narratives during the Holocaust where individuals were able to dramatically rise to the level of heroic stature. However, that might not be realistic.  While we, as readers, might wish to read a narrative of those imprisoned being able to assert strength in overthrowing Nazi control, or showing resistance at every given moment, this is not an honest depiction of the situation.  Rather, there were moments in this horrific example of human cruelty where individuals fought with one another for a piece of bread, or when victims demonstrated cruelty to one another, the same cruelty shown to them.  In recounting such a narrative, Wiesel creates the understanding that the Holocaust and behaviors that allowed it was not something that was separate and distant, something that only "Nazis" could do.  Rather, any individual who sins by indifferent silence or turns their back towards the cries of others' suffering demonstrates the same type of behavior that allowed the Holocaust to happen.  The detached tone Wiesel adopts through this narrative reflects this realistically emotional point of view.