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Night, By Elie Wiesel Essay

1163 words - 5 pages

“One more stab to the heart, one more reason to hate,” Elie wrote, “one less reason to live” (109). Hope is defined as the feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen (Definition of Hope). Night, by Elie Wiesel, is a poignant novel set during the Holocaust, depicting the gruesome treatment he, along with countless other Jews, endured during World War II by the Nazis. They were confined in concentration camps, which were massive areas of land where Jews and others would undergo constant malfeasance. They suffered from stunning malnutrition, poor sanitation, and other despicable living conditions. Many were sent to die, in vast numbers, when their skills were deemed inadequate. Methods of annihilation included cremation, hanging, gunfire, and ultimately gas chambers. Other causes of death included starvation and disease. Elie was transferred to many different camps and made it out alive not by resisting, but by mostly doing as told. The Holocaust culminated with the genocide of over six million Jews as well as many others. Only a teenager at the time, Elie is one of the few Holocaust survivors left to tell their story today. Those who survived were typically left with no money, no family, and no place to go. Night does not offer hope because of Elie’s loss of faith in his religion, the changes in what the Jews considered important in life, and the malaise and feeling of emptiness that still consumes Elie even to this day.
Elie was different than the other Jewish teenagers that surrounded him. His curiosity and belief in Judaism was much stronger. Consequently, God was a major part of his life. As the Nazi’s evil deeds on the Jews kept expanding, however, his religious beliefs started to wane. The most prominent example of this change in faith occurred as he witnessed a public hanging, whereby an innocent child slowly choked to his death as he was too light for the rope that strangled him. Elie listened to those around him wishing for God to arise and could no longer keep his thoughts to himself, stating that God is “hanging here from this gallows” (65). At that point, God was dead in Elie’s eyes; all hope was lost. Other inmates experienced an even stronger abandonment of God. Perhaps the bitterest of all remarks came from an impersonal, cold man who happened to cross paths with Elie. Arguing about Hitler’s true motives, the faceless man conceded that Hitler, not God, was the true prophet, for he had not failed thus far in abolishing the Jewish race (80-81). While Elie was baffled by the man’s crude words, he said no more for he had lost all faith and had nothing more to say. Elie had become incapable of believing that God would intervene and put an end to Hitler’s genocide, as that sort of belief would require hope, something he sorely lacked.
Priorities and ideas can change greatly depending on the environment; this was especially true for the Jews during the Holocaust. At the beginning of the Holocaust, death was...

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