A Beggar in Jerusalem

by Elie Wiesel

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What is the author's tone at the beginning of A Beggar in Jerusalem?

Quick answer:

The author's tone at the beginning of A Beggar in Jerusalem is elusive, puzzling, and confrontational.

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The tone at the beginning of Elie Wiesel’s novel is elusive, mysterious, and puzzling. Wiesel introduces the reader to the beggar. The beggar is not given a name or any sort of physical description. Once the beggar has been introduced, Wiesel pivots to the beginning. The beginning has something to do with the beggar, but Wiesel does not bother to immediately explain what that relationship entails.

In the second paragraph, the tone becomes confrontational. Wiesel directly addresses the reader. He asks the reader, “Do you see him?” This aggressive tone could befuddle some readers. It might seem odd to ask the reader if they spot someone who’s only been mentioned in a mysterious, puzzling way. Alas, this is the cryptic tone that Wiesel adopts for the start of his story.

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