Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 502
- Night is the beginning of Wiesel's oeuvre and of a trilogy. The next two works are L'aube (Dawn, 1961) and Le Jour (The Accident, 1961) and revolve around survivors of the Holocaust and the way they deal with the memories of the camps.
- Wiesel's 1962 work, The Town Beyond the Wall, concerns a Holocaust survivor who returns to Hungary to confront his Nazi persecutors. Rather than find relief, the man discovers that his revenge denies and displaces moral responsibility. There is no satisfaction in revenge.
- The ever popular story of the young girl Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl (1947) tells of a group of Jews coping with the unbearable stress of hiding from the Nazis. Eventually they are discovered. The diary has been adapted brilliantly for stage and film and remains the favorite memento of the Holocaust.
- Far from the Holocaust, but contemporary with Wiesel's Night are the works of Saul Bellow. His Seize the Day was published in 1956 and deals with the father/son relationship differently than Wiesel does. Both can be read in terms of the Abraham/Isaac motif. Together, the two works are stark contrasts, yet the hero in both works is haunted by the pressure of responsibility to his father.
- Though some have difficulty with the idea that such a serious topic as the Holocaust would be treated in such a genre as the graphic novel, Art Spiegelman's 1980-1991 collection Maus is a brilliant synopsis of the Holocaust. With cats as Nazis, mice as Jews, and pigs as Poles, the novel exposes more of the tensions that are involved in moments of moral chaos than could be possible covered in one person's memory of the nightmare.
- The 1995 novel by Gerda Weissmann Klein called All but My Life, tells the story of her experience in World War II. It begins in the prewar days of Poland and continues through her three-year stay in German work camps. The story ends happily—she marries the American lieutenant who is part of American force liberating the camp. This book is very different from other Holocaust stories because Klein writes about emotions more than about the ethics of the horror.
- Contemporary with the round up and deportation of Jews in Europe, the Japanese in the United States and Canada were also imprisoned. The story of Obasan, by Joy Kogawa (1981), tells the tale of how the hysterical fear of invasion by the Japanese lead to the exile of Canadian citizens with Japanese ancestry. They were forced to live in camps in the interior and were not allowed to resume life as full citizens until the early 1950s.
- One contemporary of Elie Wiesel was the poet and beatnik Allen Ginsberg. His poetry reflected much on the suffering of humanity as well as the suffering of his own people in the camps. Late in the 1950s, he brought together a collection of poems entitled Kaddish and Other Poems. The poem Kaddish itself is a personalizing of the Jewish hymn of mourning for his mother who died insane in 1956.
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