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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elie Wiesel's Night is an autobiographical account that offers readers a personal account of the horrifying experiences of a young Jewish boy and his family who become the victims of the Holocaust. 

Here is the plot of this work:

EXPOSITION

A young Eliezer is a devout Hasidic Jew who wishes to pursue religious mysticism, so he consults the pious Moshe the Beadle, who works at the synagogue in Sighet. The advice of this devout man to Elie is to ask questions but not to expect to understand the responses of God, which remain unsatisfied in the soul until one dies.

This response of Moshe foreshadows what will happen in Elie's life; soon horrific and tragic events will occur which will test Elie's faith.

INCITING INCIDENT

Since World War II has been going on for three years, the citizens of Sighet begin to wonder if the war will end before the battle front moves close to them. One day with no warning, Moshe and other citizens of Sighet are taken by police and loaded into cattle cars; they are sent to Poland where they are then loaded into trucks. These trucks take the citizens of Sighet. When the train stops, they are forced to dig large graves for themselves. The soldiers then open fire and kill men, women, and children. Moshe receives only a shot to his leg; so after the soldiers depart, he flees and returns to Sighet.

In his desperation, Moshe relates what has happened, and he urges the citizens to flee. Believing that Moshe has lost his mind, no one believes him.

What has happened to Moshe and the others from Sighet introduces the central conflict of the Jewish people and the Nazis.

DEVELOPMENT (Rising Action)

Some Nazi officers arrive to police the town. At first they are polite and non-aggressive; however, it is not long before the Jewish leaders are arrested and the residents made to wear a yellow star of David, marking them as Jews. Later, the Jewish residents are forced into ghettos surrounded by barbed wire. The men are made to stoke coal on the trains, and all residents must return to the ghetto by six in the evening.

One Sunday morning an officer knocks on the Wiesel's window at 4:00 A.M., warning them to prepare food for a trip. Later, the residents of Sighet are loaded into cattle cars--eighty in each car--and are sent to a concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland. There Elie and his father are separated from his mother and younger sister.

Elie and his father are made to work, and each day they must demonstrate that they are healthy enough to perform. While they endure constant hardships (the external conflict), Elie undergoes an inner conflict as he loses his faith in God. 
As the allied forces approach the concentration camp, the inmates are forced on a death march to Gleiwitz, which is fifty miles away. When they arrive, only twelve survive. Elie and his father are among them, but his father is extremely weak.

CLIMAX

In Buchenwald as his father lies dying, he calls out to his son, but Elie is afraid to go to him since a Nazi with a club stands over his father.

I didn't move. I was afraid, my body was afraid of another blow, this time to my head. My father groaned once more, I heard: "Eliezer…" I could see that he was still breathing—in gasps. I didn't move.

The next morning his father's cot is empty; he has been taken to the crematorium. With shame and guilt, Elie reflects,

No prayers were said over his tomb. No candle lit in his memory. His last word had been my name. He had called out to me and I had not answered.

RESOLUTION

On April 11, 1945, the camp is liberated. Elie reflects,

Our first act as free men was to throw ourselves onto the provisions. That's all we thought about. No thought of revenge, or of parents. Only of bread.

Three days after the liberation of Buchenwald, Elie becomes ill and hovers between life and death for three days. Finally, he is able to get out of bed, and he decides to look in a mirror that is on a wall.

I had not seen myself since the ghetto. From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I can't diagram it out for you, but I can help with labeling the correct parts of the story.  A typical plot structure diagram includes five parts: introduction/exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  

Night's introduction includes telling readers about the time and place, which would be the early 1940s during World War II.  The book starts in Transylvania, but moves from location to location quite a bit.  The main character is Eliezer. 

The rising action to the story is Eliezer's "journey" to the concentration camp and his experiences there.  

The climax of the story is the death of Eliezer's father.  

The falling action is a combination of Eliezer's liberation from the concentration camp and his debate about whether or not to write about it.  

I think the resolution to the story occurs in the last chapter when Eliezer is standing in front of the mirror and ultimately rejects God and his faith. 

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