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Analysis Of The Judges By Elie Wiesel

852 words - 3 pages

The Judges, by Elie Wiesel, tells the story of five passengers on a flight from New York to Tel Aviv, who find themselves in a tumultuous situation after their plane is forced to land due to bad weather. The passengers, saved from the weather by a local beneficiary, quickly realize the malicious intent of their host. The Judge, as their host deems himself, interrogates the passengers and forces them to justify their reasons for living in his maniacal game. The passengers introspectively contemplate their own lives as they judge the lives of each other. The unique situation that the passengers find themselves in permits the author to express a gamut of tones and attitudes. Wiesel conveys tones of anticipation, anxiety, darkness, fear, and panic through techniques including diction, imagery, and syntax.
Wiesel’s eloquent use of diction conveys the dark, cynical, and remorseful tones that develop throughout the novel. The diction expresses the author’s changing tone by manipulating the tone conveyed by the narrator. The narrator calls the host a “terrorist” (Wiesel 112) and the passengers “hostages” (Wiesel 113) and “victims” (Wiesel 161), depicting a dark tone. This tone sharply contrasts with the tone at the beginning of the novel when the host and the passengers are referred to as the “beneficiary” (Wiesel 6) and “survivors” (Wiesel 4). Diction continues to contribute to the tone when the narrator describes the initial exchange between the judge and the survivors using words such as “eloquence” and “warmth” (Wiesel 40) to convey a welcoming attitude. The author’s tone changes and in the later dialogues in which the Judge is described as “rambling in a monotonous tone” (Wiesel 160). Later, a tone of remorse is conveyed as the hostages contemplate on what could be their last few hours alive. The narrator describes the relationship between Claudia and her “love” David, describing it as “desire [meeting] desire, when the heart is stronger than reason” (Wiesel 170). Words such as “desire” and “heart,” in context with Claudia’s wistful romanticism, invoke feelings of remorse.
The varying syntax used by Wiesel establishes tones of nervousness, exhilaration, and fear. As the passengers become more on edge, their sentences become shorter, expressing the nervous attitude of the author. The once eloquent descriptions turn into short exclamations as Wiesel expresses his anxiety by describing the passengers’ actions; “Razziel look[s] at his watch. So [do] George and Yoav. Thirty-two minutes past midnight” (Wiesel 45). These benign, arbitrary actions become symbols of the anxiety due to the staccato nature of the sentences. Furthermore, the use of punctuation exemplifies the author’s tone as when “Bruce...

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