What are examples of irony in the book Night by Elie Wiesel?

An example of irony in the book Night by Elie Wiesel comes when Moishe the Beadle warns the Jews of Sighet about the atrocities carried out by the Nazis, only to be ignored. This is an example of dramatic irony, as we know what the Jews of Sighet don't: that Moishe's story is absolutely true.

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Much of the irony in Night is dramatic. Dramatic irony is when the audience is aware of something that the characters within a work are not. The most famous example of dramatic irony in Night is in the episode with Moishe the Beadle. After escaping from an execution at the hands of the Gestapo, Moishe tries to warn his fellow Jews that they will be rounded up and killed by the Nazi regime, but no one believes him. Obviously, the reader (assuming they have read their history) will be aware that Moishe is telling the truth, which creates suspense and dread.

Other types are irony in the novel are more situational, where an event proceeds in the opposite manner from what one expects. For example, Akiba Drumer asks his friends to say Kaddish for him after he is killed for failing the selection process. They promise they will do so. Given their friendship and the heartbreak they will experience once Akiba is no longer with them, the reader might expect Akiba's friends to fulfill their promise. However, when the time comes for them to say Kaddish, Akiba's friends forget to do so, because they are too exhausted to be concerned with anything but their own survival.

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When Moishe the Beadle returns to the town of Sighet, he has a terrible tale to tell. After being deported from the town as a foreign Jew, Moishe was handed over to the Gestapo at the Polish border along with the other Jews. There, in a scene of unimaginable horror, they were systematically murdered by the Nazis and buried in the mass graves which they had been forced to dig.

Miraculously, Moishe somehow managed to escape. Now that he's made his way back to Sighet, he's anxious to warn the Jews living there of what's in store for them. However, no one wants to listen to him; everyone's convinced that Moishe's crazy, so they don't believe a word he's saying.

Here, we have a prime example of dramatic irony. This is a literary technique whereby we, the reader or the audience, know something that certain characters don't. In this case, we know, with the benefit of hindsight, that the horrific scenes described by Moishe took place all over occupied Europe during the Second World War.

We know, then, that what he's saying is absolutely true. Sadly, the Jews of Sighet don't know this, and when they find out that Moishe was right all along, it'll be too late.

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When the foreign Jews, including Moishe the Beadle, were being deported, someone quipped that the situation was necessitated by war. The statement is ironic because despite being aware that the Jews were being targeted, those left in Sighet believed they were safe and took no measures to address the situation.

Behind me, someone said, sighing, "What do you expect? That's war"

The irony is evident when Mrs. Schachter keeps screaming that she sees a fire until she is brutally attacked by the other passengers. One of...

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the passengers reports the incident to a German soldier and insists that the lady needs a hospital. The officer suggests that she will soon be taken there. The event is ironic because the German officer does not intend to offer any medical assistance since he is aware that death awaits most of the passengers.

"Patience," the German replied, "patience. She'll be taken there soon."

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There are good examples of verbal and situational irony in Elie Wiesel's memoir Night. Verbal irony occurs when words are used to suggest the opposite of what is meant. It is grimly ironic when, after the Jews are ordered to wear yellow stars, Elie's father says, "The yellow star? Oh well, what of it? You don't die of it..." The statement is ironic because that is precisely how Elie's father dies. The wearing of the yellow star was one step on the path to the concentration camps and almost certain death. After almost a year in the camps, Elie's father dies from dysentery at Buchenwald. 

Situational irony occurs when what actually happens is the opposite of what is expected or appropriate. In section five, as Russian troops come closer to the work camp at Buna where Elie and his father are imprisoned, the camp is ordered to be evacuated. Elie has just had foot surgery and is recovering in the hospital. He is told that he and his father can stay behind at the hospital while the rest of the prisoners are deported:

The choice was in our hands. For once we could decide our fate for ourselves. We could both stay in the hospital, where I could, thanks to my doctor, get him entered as a patient or a nurse. Or else we could follow the others.

Elie has heard from other prisoners that once the evacuation has taken place the camp would be blown up, so his choice is difficult. Ultimately he chooses to leave with the rest of the prisoners. Wiesel's decision was tragic. Ironically, only two days after they leave, the camp is liberated by the Russians. Instead of liberation, Elie and his father spend more months as prisoners, first on a forced march, and then at Buchenwald where Elie's father dies. 

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What are examples of juxtaposition, motifs, or irony in Night by Elie Wiesel?

Elie Wiesel’s short novel Night is a semiautobiographical account of his experiences as a teenaged boy in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.

A motif is a recurring image or idea that helps a writer develop his work. One of the motifs in Night is violence. We see it over and over again as Elie’s experiences as a prisoner challenge his humanity. The following scene depicts Elie's reaction to seeing his father beaten: 

. . . he began beating him with an iron bar.

I had watched it all happening without moving. I kept silent. In fact, I thought of stealing away in order not to suffer the blows. What’s more, if I felt anger at that moment, it was not directed at the Kapo but at my father. Why couldn’t he have avoided Idek’s wrath? That’s what life in a concentration camp had made of me . . .

The motif of violence is seen in the beating, using an iron bar no less.

Situational irony occurs when we have a surprising event, the opposite of what we expect. In the above passage, the motif of violence actually creates a kind of ironic situation. In normal circumstances, we would expect Elie to be furious at Idek the Kapo, who is beating his father. Instead, he tells us that he is angry at his father for getting himself in the situation in the first place.

As you can see, different literary elements, in this case motif and irony, can work together to create deeper meanings in what we read.

Wiesel continually juxtaposes the cruelty and brutality of concentration camp life with small but important kindnesses. This creates an affirmation of the human spirit that war and imprisonment can sometimes destroy. In one scene, Elie’s father gives him his own rations. This sort of kindness is about all they have left at that point.

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What are examples of juxtaposition, motifs, or irony in Night by Elie Wiesel?

There are many instances in which ideas or experiences are presented in juxtaposition - contrasting images placed close together - in Night, because the entire novel is filled with situations in which something that could or should appear to be pleasant or positive is contrasted with something horrible. Consider finishing the process of loading of the trains to transport the Jews away from Sighet.

One person was placed in charge of every car: if someone managed to escape, that person would be shot. Two Gestapo officers strolled down the length of the platform. They were all smiles; all things considered, it had gone very smoothly.

Elie and the others probably were not smiling or thinking things had "gone smoothly."

Probably the strongest recurring motif is Elie's struggle to reconcile the experiences he is enduring with the Jewish Scriptures he has learned. His struggles to see God in his surroundings, his attempts to find some solace in faith that he struggles to keep and then abandons - those are motifs. The recurring death scenes and experiences is another motif.

Irony is present in the contrasts between what had been expected or anticipated and what actually happened. One of the most ironic comments came from one of the other Jewish patients in the infirmary.

I have more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He alone has kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.

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