Monday, February 23, 2009

Thoughts on Night by Elie Wiesel

In history class we read the book Night by Wiesel. It is his personal account of his experiences in World War 2.
Review Coming Soon. The following is a short essay I wrote as an assignment. The prompt was to write your reactions, feelings, and thoughts after reading this book.

Night by Elie Wiesel

All alone, darkness, death, unfairness; these are words we as human beings in the twenty-first century shrink away from and prefer not to experience or use. These words are triggers for unpleasant feelings and locked up memories. Wiesel, in his book Night writes about his experiences as a prisoner in World War 2. His thoughts blast open these words and creates new meaning to them. He redefines what it is to be afraid and how it is to feel alone. When I read this book, I was inspired because of the strength it took to survive this kind of ordeal is incredible, but the pure courage and faithfulness that was abundant in the author is indescribable.

Night is a very intense and powerful read. The characters are as real as can be possible and the events are exact truths. This stuff is not made up and it is not fake or pretend, like some think or to a certain extent want to think. The question is, what makes this particular book stand out with descriptions pertaining to being powerful, life changing, intense? The reason is, Wiesel writes his story to us, the reader. At one point, Wiesel begins to describe how he feels, “Through the blue-tinged skylights I could see the darkness gradually fading. I had ceased to feel fear. And then I was overcome by an inhuman weariness”. (.p. 33) He had “ceased to feel fear”. He is saying bluntly and matter-of-factly what happened and how he is feeling. He's not adding fluff, additional characters, or other plots to make it more interesting, because it is his story. The story, the pure raw truth. The truth is powerful and that is what makes this book powerful.

One of my hobbies is reviewing books for publishing companies. I read a lot of books based for teens and young adults. One of the pros to this is the knowledge received is irreplaceable and completely filling and satisfying. One of the cons is that it is common to read a teen book written at an average teen level, which is pretty pathetic nowadays. With Night, the writing is mature and it is written to those who will understand and get the full rewards, which are first account knowledge of the conditions and actions during World War 2. While running between camps, Wiesel states, “We were masters of nature, masters of the world…Stronger than cold or hunger, stronger than the hosts and desire to die, condemned and wandering, mere numbers, we were the only men on earth”. (.p.83) This type of writing is just incredible and when I read this and think about what he means when he says “desire to die” or “masters of the world” it helps me begin the process of understanding how he felt when all this was happening to him. The way this quote is presented also makes a person rise above what they are capable of and think, instead of degrading themselves as readers.

To conclude, this book made me feel thankful for the way my life is right now and opened my eyes to some situations and circumstances that I was unaware of happening around World War 2. The writing was powerful and told the truth which is one of the main reasons this book will stick with me hopefully for the rest of my life. Those were dark and horrible times and one can only hope and pray that times like those will never happen again.


Sherry said...

You have me very intrigued. Glad you liked an assigned reading so much :)

Christy said...

I read that book too! It was so good. It was sad but it very realisticly (of course because it's a true story!) captures the essence of being Jewish in a concentration camp.