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.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The native Jews of Sighet express their indifference when foreign Jews are deported by the Hungarian police. Moishe the Beadle and other foreign Jews are rounded up and transported out of Sighet. The Jews left behind are not concerned by the event, and some of them suggest that it was just an aspect of war and was unavoidable. It later emerges that the Jews were killed save for Moishe the Beadle who went back to Sighet and narrated the event to a dismissive audience.

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

The Jews remained indifferent even when the situation before them worsened. According to Eliezer, the Jews were not worried that the Fascists had seized power in Budapest. To the Jews, the event was of no significance.

Yet we still were not worried. Of course, we had heard of the Fascists, but it was all in the abstract. It meant nothing more to us than a change of ministry.

Eliezer’s father was not concerned at the turn of events. He suggested that wearing the yellow star had no impact on their lives.

The yellow star? So what? It's not lethal.

After spending time in the camps, the prisoners lose hope, and they are no longer worried about what will happen to them.

Our minds numb with indifference. Here or elsewhere, what did it matter? Die today or tomorrow, or later?