Night by Elie Weisel

December 14, 2010
By WillitsKelsey BRONZE, Ozawkie, Kansas
WillitsKelsey BRONZE, Ozawkie, Kansas
1 article 0 photos 1 comment


We have just finished reading the powerful novel Night by Elie Weisel. This devastating story represents the horror of the Nazi Holocaust that in time changes one man’s outlook on life and the world, Elie. All of the events and disasters are told from Elie’s own perspective, which empowers the emotions and graphic visuals of the entire book. Although some people disagree with the fact that freshmen are reading a book of this regard, I believe that we as students can handle it because we need to know about the true evil behind the Nazi Holocaust.

I was very inspired by this book because it showed how a boy near our age handled all the death and fatigue to which the Nazis had thrown upon his shoulders. I can relate well to Elie and experience empathy for him because of the similar age, just like last year when we read “The Diary of Anne Frank”. We could experience a deeper connection with her because it feels like she pulled you into the book. It was difficult for me to understand how this catastrophe could have happened to the world, but not once did I question the reality of the story. Some people disagree with the thought of freshmen reading Night because it may be to graphic for us, and the details may be to intense. Instead, because the details of this story are so vivid, we can understand Elie’s situation better and understand how he emotionally changes throughout the book on a personal level. At one point Elie witnesses a viscous attack over a small piece of bread between father and son and says right after it “Next to me were two corpses, side by side, the father and the son. I was fifteen years old” (96). This makes us realize that Elie saw all the horrors of man and death at a young, lost age. It makes me feel shocked and astonished, and I can connect to him somehow through my empathy. There’s no way I can truly relate to Elie’s situation because I have the privilege of civilization that he didn’t, but that should not stop us from caring or prevent us from realizing how disgusting and evil people were and how atrocious we are capable of being.

Another way this story affects freshmen is through the gas chambers, hangings, fatigue, starvation, and above all death because all of this was real. This novel introduces us to the hatred of the world and its cruel aspects of what is wrong and what is right. Many people believe that we are not yet mature enough to handle this harsh reality, or we are not yet ready to know all the horrible details of the Holocaust, but I have to ask, what is the benefit of sheltering us from such a true reality? There is a certain significance to all life that the Nazis aren’t able to see, but they are capable of the death of six million innocent people. Everything in this book sets an example of whom we have a choice of becoming, and I believe we owe it to those six million people to choose the right path. When Elie saw the possible death and torture of all the Jews by the Nazis, I thought of the proverb “To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.” This means that we all have the choice of being a good person or a bad one and you must make the decision of which one to become. I learned from this book that we are all capable of death, brutality, and torture, and any one of us may be responsible for the relentless struggle of someone else. Night has helped us realize that we can all save a life or destroy one; enlighten one or insult one; and persevere or give up; it all depends on which gate we choose to open.

Finally, we as freshmen are able to handle this book because it teaches us about ourselves. Night teaches us to believe in ourselves when all odds are against us. Elie believed in himself and persevered till the end, which helps us realize that we all have the certain willpower to follow through with our dreams, plans, and even torment. People may disagree with this because there is the threat of us questioning our faith in God as Elie did; they are afraid we may form our own opinions about God. Elie argues his faith in God because he doesn’t understand why a god so powerful and loving would let this happen to the Jews. Despite the question of faith, this story teaches us more beneficial things than detrimental ones. It helps us to discover empathy for those who died and lived through the Holocaust because our empathy is all we can give to those who went through the horrible struggle. I felt a lot of compassion towards Juliek at the end when he played his violin. When Elie witnessed the final moments Juliek playing his soul he said, “How could I forget that concert, given to an audience of dying and dead men” (90)? I then understood that even though Juliek had been stripped of civilization and humanity, he spent his final moments giving the world all he had left, his passion for the violin. Juliek not only gave all he had to the dying men, he gave the best he had, and I feel the deepest admiration for him. This inspires all of us to be strong and give all we have even when the world around us doesn’t because that will inspire others to do the same- the key purpose in life.

To conclude, freshmen are capable of reading this book and understanding it’s importance and personal perspective we should all respect. We are able to personally relate to Elie through age and experience empathy and understanding for him. We are privileged to discover more about ourselves and more about who we have the choice of becoming. This book teaches us that we are all capable to murder, persevere, help, destroy, and inspire others for better or worse. It helps us to discover and believe in ourselves like Elie and realize that we should never let Night repeat itself.

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This article has 1 comment.

TwoFace17 GOLD said...
on Dec. 28 2010 at 9:33 pm
TwoFace17 GOLD, Sioux City, Iowa
14 articles 2 photos 15 comments
I read this book in 8th grade and again in 10th grade for English. I enjoyed the book. I agree that everyone needs to know about the horrors of the Holocaust.

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