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Theme of Holocaust in Novel “Night”



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    Elie Wiesel conveys that when people are in a deprivation of needs, their faith can be challenged in his novel, Night, through the use of food motifs, the allusion to the Angel of Death, and the innocent archetype. “Doubt is poison. It leads to a loss of faith in yourself, and in all that’s good and true” by Dean Koontz. This quote ties into the points I’ll be making because discusses the loss of faith and how that can mentally hurt someone. The novel Night was written by Elie Wiesel and is about a boy at the age of 15 surviving the Holocaust. The book talks about the horrible traumatic experiences that Elie, his father, and many other Jews went through and how he got out of it.

    Elie Wiesel uses a food motif to show how he is losing his faith throughout the Holocaust. He uses food motifs throughout the book to represent how he feels, his hunger, and his spiritual beliefs. This motif took place while they were on a train to the last camp, Buchenwald and SS officers were throwing bread at them. The SS officers did this to make a spectacle out of them and to see how much they would fight for a piece of bread.“Soon, pieces of bread were falling into the wagons from all sides. And the spectators observed these emaciated creatures ready to kill for a crust of bread” (Wiesel 101).

    This shows that when bad things happened, Elie reflected his emotions into the food and it caused his thoughts to change. When they were on the train many people went straight for the bread in almost a dehumanized way. All these Jews had lost their faith, stopped praying, and basically started attacking each other for a piece of bread. Because they were kept by such evil men, they forgot how to act and were acting as animals rather than humans. The Jews were also starting to act in a way that their religion would have disapproved of. Throughout the story, they slowly turn dehumanized and act like animals rather than humans. This relates to my theme because it shows that they were acting in a way that their faith would have disapproved of. For example, they were attacking each other and not acting as Jews should or as their religion tell them. This shows that they were losing their faith in God, by not acting as he would have told them to.

    Throughout this novel, Elie Wiesel talks about losing his faith through food motifs as well as the allusion to the Angel of Death. Elie Wiesel used the allusion to the Angel of Death to show how Elie lost his faith while he was surviving the Holocaust. Elie uses this allusion to explain how he couldn’t find God and why God wasn’t answering his prayers. This allusion took place while they were hanging people because they had done something wrong or were not strong enough (ASK). Elie was talking and asking God why he would allow this to happen and he was wondering where God was. “For God’s sake, where is God? And from within me, I heard a voice answer: “Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…”(Wiesel 65).

    This shows how he slowly lost his faith in God and how he didn’t know where God was. Elie compares God to the Pipel, so God is dead in a way because he said that Pipel was dead. Throughout this book, Elie wonders where God is and why he isn’t answering his prayers. Elie asked God many times to take him out of his misery and to help him, yet he doesn’t hear an answer from God. This allusion connects to the theme because it shows how he lost his faith from what happened during the Holocaust and the experiences that he had. As well as using allusion to represent his loss of faith, he also uses an innocent archetype.

    Elie Wiesel used an innocent archetype to show Elie’s journey of losing his faith. Elie is the innocent archetype at the beginning of this story because he doesn’t believe his best friend Moishe. Moishe was trying to tell everyone what he went through, but no one would believe him because they didn’t think that God would allow something like that to happen. Moishe was telling his neighbors that people were being shoved into cattle cars and burned to death. This archetype takes place when Elie’s best friend is trying to tell people what was happening to the Jews, but they wouldn’t listen to him because Elie couldn’t believe that such a bad thing was happening. “Jews listen to me! That’s all I ask of you. No money. No pity. Just listen to me!” he kept shouting in synagogue, between the prayer at dusk and the evening prayer. Even I did not believe him.”(Wiesel 7).

    This relates to my theme because Elie didn’t think that God would allow such things to happen, so he didn’t believe him even though Moishe was his best friend. Also, Elie didn’t know what was happening and couldn’t think stuff like this could happen, so in a way he is innocent. Elie quickly finds out that Moishe was telling the truth and wished that he could have believed him, but he was innocent and didn’t know such traumatic experiences could occur. Night uses many literary devices to show how Elie lost his faith throughout the book. Some of these included the innocent archetype, an allusion to the Angel of Death, and food motifs.

    Elie Wiesel used food motifs, an allusion to the Angel of Death and the innocent archetype to convey that when people are in a deprivation of needs, their faith can be challenged in his novel, Night. This shows how many hard times people went through during the Holocaust and these experiences caused them to lose their faith. As well as losing faith in God throughout this book, Elie was slowly losing faith in family and humanity because of the experiences that he went through. Overall the Holocaust was a scary time for the Jews and in only two days around 33,000 Jews were killed.

    Theme of Holocaust in Novel “Night”. (2021, Aug 30). Retrieved from

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