The Night by Elie Wiesel
The Second World War was probably the cruelest periods of all times. The author of this novel was Jewish who managed to survive, which was the real miracle. He witnessed sufferings, pain, and death, and decided to share this experience with the whole world for everybody to remember and to understand what a nightmare it was. Cutie Cullen describes the hardship of the author: “The death of his family, the loss of faith in God, and the belief that his days in the camps will never end are all the times Elie is in his own personal night, a time when he is so consumed by the gloom that he has no reason to live” (Cutie Cullen, “The Life and Experiences of Elie Wiesel”).
Step by step, the death took everything from him, including his faith. When the author described the calm life in their community, he mentioned how much he loved the God, and how devoted he was to him. When Wiesel arrived at the first camp, the faith disappeared rather soon. It was not surprising, taking into account those terrible things the little boy observed there: “Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes… children thrown into the flames” (Wiesel 32). The God used to be everything for him. Little Elie trusted him and believed that he would always guide and protect him. After seeing this nightmare, the boy could not understand the God anymore and lost his faith. The community had a chance to flee before soldiers came, but they could not even imagine that something so awful could ever happen. They did not even believe the man who saw what soldiers did to people. The community thought that the God would protect all of them. The boy asked himself: “The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?” (Wiesel 33). Elie mentions that in the camps, where people ate almost nothing and worked on pain of death, some of them even debated about whether to fast or not. Elie did not understand why they kept believing. In such terrible conditions, less food would mean a very quick and painful death.
After taking away Elie’s faith, death began dealing with all the family he had. The first victims were his mother and two younger sisters. He lost them as soon as the train reached the first station. Elie would join them too, if not for a man who advised him to tell the soldiers that he was older. The boy did not see them die, but he knew it. Throughout the novel, there is no mentioning of the hope of seeing mother and sisters again. Death allied with crematorium and took them: “Never shall I forget that smoke” (Wiesel 37). Perhaps Elie tried not to think of his lost family because if he did, the chances for him to survive would decrease much. Every day a little boy had to face the death and succeed in tricking it, there was no time for grief. The only thought of his beloved mother and sisters could make him extremely weak, and the camps were not a place for such people. The weak did not stay alive for long there. During that time, Elie kept taking care about the only one family remained – his father. There were many instances when the boy could lose him, and it scared him to death every time: “Deep down, I was saying goodbye to my father, to the whole universe.” (Wiesel 34). Elie not only cared about it because of his love to his father, but also because he knew that without his him he would never survive that nightmare. Father advised Elie how to behave. Father shared his food every time he could. Father kept Elie awake on the snow. He was supporting his son emotionally. Elie clung to life only because his father was close. He knew that if any of them died the other one would also lose the sense to stay alive. Till the very end, the father kept doing everything he could. Being very ill and about to die, he refused from his bread and offered it to Elie. Unfortunately, the boy lost everyone. He did not mention the days after his father’s death on purpose: these memories and this very last drop of shock was too painful to bare and to write about it.
Although the novel is full of heart-piercing moments, the author adds some irony from time to time to underline certain ideas. For example, his family used to be wealthy but in the camps, it did not matter: “Here, take this knife. I won’t need it anymore. [..] My inheritance” (Wiesel 75)… To show that back then, the world split into two, the author also uses irony. He describes some awful things and extremely painful emotions and then writes: “It was spring. The sun was shining” (Wiesel 40). In one world, there was the sun, there people noticed its presence and enjoyed life. In the other one, the world of war and the real hell on earth, the sun did not matter.
To conclude, the war deprived Elie of everything he had: faith, family, and hope. It took a little boy and made him suffer for the rest of his life. This particular example is one of many others. Although some part of Elie died in the camps, there were people whose destiny was even worse, and he saw it with his own eyes. Today, the memories of that war serve one purpose: to remind people that it must never happen again!