What are four examples or quotations from the book Night by Elie Wiesel that exhibit indifference?

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sjfisher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Indifference plays a major role in Elie Wiesel’s Night. In the cattle cars during transportation to a concentration camp, Mrs. Schächter screams that she can see fire and that everyone is going to die. When the train arrives at the camps and those fires become painfully real to everyone, she falls silent. Elie describes her as “Mute again, indifferent, absent” (28). Readers see a different kind of indifference on the very next page when the officers at the camp separate the men and women. Elie says these officers declare orders in “words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion” (29). Later in the text, the prisoners have been deprived of humane treatment for months, sometimes years, and they no longer hold the capacity to emote or concern themselves with much other than their own survival. During a winter march, Elie notes the indifferent attitude of those simply forcing themselves to go on, to survive: “Beneath our feet there lay men, crushed, trampled underfoot, dying. Nobody paid attention to them” (89). This indifference eventually extends to the survivors themselves as they ride a transport train, starving, freezing, and exhausted. They no longer have the will to push themselves but follow orders out of habit and lack of will to object. Elie describes the crowd’s mentality as such: “Our minds numb with indifference. Here or elsewhere, what did it matter? Die today or tomorrow, or later?” (98). Indifference as a theme permeates the peoples on all sides of the war at different points and in different ways.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. Trans. Marion Wiesel. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Book.