What are some literary devices used in Night?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Wiesel uses imagery and symbolism a great deal in the book. The barbed wire that encircles the ghetto is a symbol of captivity. The yellow star that all Jews are forced to wear is a symbol of their oppression.

He also uses similes and metaphors to describe the Jews and their condition:

And there was I, on the pavement, unable to make a move. Here came the Rabbi, his back bent, his face shaved....His mere presence among the deportees added a touch of unreality to the scene. It was like a page torn from some story book ... One by one they passed in front of me, teachers, friends, others, all those I had been afraid of...all those I had lived with over the years. They went by, fallen, dragging their packs, dragging their lives, deserting their homes, the years of their childhood, cringing like beaten dogs.

He uses personification, giving inanimate objects human characteristics. In "Night," not only are the Nazis evil, but the whole world seems to have turned bad:

Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust.

Another device he uses is foreshadowing. On the train to Auschwitz, Madame Schacter's vision of fire foreshadows the furnaces at the death camp. Moshe the Beadle escapes an earlier train to return to the ghetto to tell "the story of his own death."

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many examples of irony in this story.  Madame Schachter is considered crazy and annoying by the passengers on the train.  She screams about the fire and about everyone being burned up, and her fellow passengers want nothing more than to silence her, thinking that she is hysterical. However, in her fear, she is the most honest and accurate about what is going to happen, as everyone realizes when they approach the camp.

Ironically, also, Eliezer talks much about having "lost" his faith and his God.

"Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my Soul"

However, despite claiming that his God has been murdered, Eliezer constantly refers to God as a witness and an essential part of his life.  The quote -  "I no longer accepted God's silence" - shows that he is still accepting of the existence of God, despite his previous assertions.

The irony of Eliezer's last days is very poignant.  He is desperate to get out of the hospital and to join his fellow prisoners as they march from the camp; however, he learns later that he would have been quickly freed had he remained.

Allusions - or references - are another device, and there are many to the Bible.  Eliezer and his father's relationship - the way they look out for each other - is an allusion to the relationship of Abraham and Isaac in the Bible.  The hanging scene, in which there is one innocent child and two thieves, is a reference to the crucifixation of Jesus.

muahahah101 | Student

theres irony and foreshadowing 

phxtiggr | Student

As others have stated there is irony, figurative language, and imagery. The book also uses two major symbols (fire & night) to show the death, destruction, doom (fire) along with the lonliness, loss of faith, and suffering (night).


p-e-n-c-i-l | Student