Night is a story written by Elie Wiesel about his experiences during the Holocaust. He lived in the city of Sighet until he was taken by the German Army to a Nazi concentration camp. He was loaded into a train with seventy-nine other Jews being taken to camps. Once he gets to the first camp, which is Auschwitz, he and his father, Shlomo Wiesel, are separated from his mother and three sisters. Elie never saw his mother or sisters after that moment. Elie and Shlomo move to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they work in a depot doing easy work. In August of 1944 they are moved to a work camp in Auschwitz. Then in 1945, as the Red Army was getting closer to Auschwitz, the Jews were evacuated from the camp. They marched fifty miles to a station where they get put on a train The men are so small at this point that twenty more men can fit in each train compared to when they went to the first camp. They rode these trains to a camp called Buchenwald. Not much detail about what occurred in Buchenwald is put in the book. Elie's father was very sick and being tormented by other men in the barracks. Elie is completely taking care of him because the people around him steal his food and say that it is pointless to feed him. One day Elie wakes up and his father is gone, and another person is in his bed. After this point Elie stops recording the events that happened at the camp because they didn't matter anymore. A few months after that they were liberated, the first thing they did after liberation was raid the rations. Elie recounts as the American army moves into the camp and his lack of desire for vengeance.

Character Descriptions
Eliezer Wiesel - The writer of the book, he is the main character throughout the book. Elie was a fifteen year old Jew who lives in the town of Sighet. He was extremely religious and studied Kabbalah. Elie was not very close to his father, because he was strict and did not approve of his studies in Kabbalah. After the German Army took them away and his father was his only source of comfort, he clung to him. As Elie becomes more and more weak, through the duration of his concentration camp career, he begins to care about his father less and less. The camps also change Elie's spirtuality, he refuses to partake in the Jewish holidays and blames God for what has happened to them. Why does he punish those who worship him?

Shlomo Wiesel - Elie's father, Shlomo does not have a very good relationship with his son before the war. He is strict and somewhat distant. However once the Germans moved in and Shlomo was all that Elie had their prior feelings meant nothing. For a while Shlomo was a supporter for Elie. Elie was weak and relied and clung to him. However as the book progressed Elie moved farther and farther from him. By the end of the book Shlomo is very weak and is relying entirely on his son. He dies on January 28th, 1945.

I had known a lot about the facts of the Holocaust before reading this book, however I had really enjoyed reading from the point of view of a Jew, which was new to me. I loved Eliezer's writing style and feel like he did an excellent job describing the events that occurred while he was in the camps. There was nothing that I didn't like about the book however if I had to choose something I would have to say that I wished that Elie went into more detail about his life in the camps after his father died. He stated that it was no longer important however I think that it would have been interesting to hear about still, how he dealt with camp life without his father.

Essential Questions

What are the root causes of persecution?
Persecution can be caused by a number of different emotions that all lead to hatred. Emotions such as confusion, misunderstanding, curiosity, fear..etc. These and many more are root emotions of hatred and persecution. Although hatred might not be the direct cause of small scale persecution, anyone capable of persecution is able to hate because all that is needed to go from persecution to hatred is small manifestation.

What are some current examples of persecution that take place in today's world?
Persecution takes place all over the world in the forms of human rights abuse, genocide, and more. There are cases of Genocide and mistreatment of groups of people all over the world. In Sri Lanka there are thousands of people killed by rebel groups and the government is not doing anything to enforce the laws that they have put into place. Violence in Burma has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands. And brutality in Iraq has lead to the deaths of nearly one hundred thousand, with over four hundred thousand displaced.

What does Night teach us about what it means to be human?

The dehumanization that occurs to the Jews can teach us what it really means to be a human. To be human is to have the right to free thought, which was almost completely taken away from the Jews during this time. They were highly restricted on what they were allowed to do, say, and eat. The loss of control over these three basic rights that all humans should have took away the Jews human essence very quickly. To be human is also to have a name, which was replaced by a series of numbers in the case of the Jews.

What can we learn from reading this book?
We can learn a lot about hatred, human needs, and the Holocaust in general. Hatred is one of the main ideas behind this book. Without hatred as the driving force behind action, this kind of mass murdering would not be possible. Genocide is a direct cause of hatred and power. This book can also teach much about human needs and the hierarchy of human needs. When first entering the camp, Elie's main need was to stay near his father, for love. However as Elie starts to realize that he needs more than love to survive, he cares less and less about his father and more and more about his basic needs such as food, energy, and sleep. Lastly this book can be very educational factually. Although some details may have been exaggerated by human emotion on Elie's part, the basic ideas of the book can tell a lot about what actually happened during the Holocaust.

Writing Assignments

Modern Persecution

Literary Analysis Essay

I did not do very good on this essay. I believed that I didn't convey my point very well. I had some issues with keeping all of my supporting points in the direct category of my topic sentence. I also had issues with where to place certain facts and points within my essay. Through my research, however, I learned a lot about other people's beliefs on Elie and his father's relationship. I also learned about independence and dependency in general.