“In a dark time, the eye begins to see…” When analyzed literally, this quote appears to contradict itself. After all, doesn’t darkness impair vision? However, when applied to Elie Wiesel’s Night, this paradox certainly rings true. It implies that in times of despair, humans often view life in a different light. Sheathed in darkness, the truth becomes illuminated. In Night, the Jews’ “dark time” entails being stripped of their freedom, rights, family, food, shelter, religion, and identity. With the loss of each of these precious possessions, the Jews begin to recognize the worth of such elements. Wistfully, they realize that these belongings should not be taken for granted, that they are truly priceless. As stated by Elie on page 23,“Our eyes were opened. Too late.”
At first, the Jews believe the Germans to be harmless. It takes dark times and drastic measures for the German’s true wickedness to be unveiled. One of the first instances in which the Jews are exposed to the true evil of their antagonists is the first moment they get off of their cattle cars at Birkenau-Auschwitz. Consumed by Madame Schachter’s prophesied “fire,” the sky symbolizes the flaming hell that the Jews are about to endure. At this moment, as the Jews stare silently at the ravenous chimneys spouting out flames, their worst nightmares evolve into reality. At midnight, the witching hour, the Jews’ eyes finally begin to see the evil that surrounds them.
The Germans can only be described as monsters, for their horrific acts of cruelty are wholly inhumane. During the Holocaust, the Germans strip the Jews of everything in their possession, to the point where the Jews are completely dehumanized. This is all a part of the Germans’ scheme to massacre the Jews without feeling any remorse. Dehumanization allows the Germans to execute this wicked act without any normal guilty pangs, since the Jews are no longer human beings in their eyes. Instead, the Jews become mere jumbles of unworthy numbers. As Elie says on page 42, “I became A-7713. From then on, I had no other name.” The stripping of his identity is a harsh experience for Elie. In this dark time, his eyes begin to see that the antagonists he faces are true monsters. For how could any human being deny another of such a precious item such as a name? It takes true malevolence to commit an act of such atrocity.
“Men to the left! Women to the right!” These eight words (page 29) forever separate Elie from his mother and little sister Tzipora. At the time, Elie is too stunned to react. However, he will never see his mother or Tzipora again. Unconsciously, Elie changes because of this severe experience. He begins to embrace his relationship with his father, despite the fact that back in Sighet they were never close. Being torn from his mother and sister causes Elie to acknowledge the value of family and thus, treasure the...