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Course Hero, "Night Study Guide," October 27, 2016, accessed November 22, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Night/.

Night | Discussion Questions 41 - 50

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How does Eliezer judge himself in his treatment of his father in Night, Section 8 and what does this judgment reveal about his character?

By the time the prisoners have been taken to Buchenwald, Eliezer's father is in very poor shape. Eliezer tries to help his father in a number of ways, such as taking him to a doctor, bringing him coffee, and sharing his food. However, Eliezer does so begrudgingly, and acknowledges letting his father go would allow him to take care of himself. The standard Eliezer has set for himself is high, and he says he is ashamed of himself "forever" for wishing he could use his strength to fight for his own survival. However, his constant grappling with the right course of action shows that he has not yet lost his own humanity.

In Night, Section 8 why does Eliezer's tone change when talking about the doctor who comes to visit the men in the bunk at Buchenwald?

In most of the narrative, the author tells his story as an eyewitness and leaves readers to form their own conclusions. However, when the doctor comes in to the barracks and starts insulting the sick prisoners, including Eliezer's father, the author reveals his anger. He writes, "I considered jumping him, strangling him. ... To strangle the doctor and the others! ... My father's murderers." As revealed earlier, Eliezer's father is his weak point; the coldhearted treatment of his father sends him over the edge. Seeing him mistreated restores Eliezer's emotions and some sense of his humanity.

In Night, Section 8 how does Eliezer respond to the death of his father?

For over a week before Eliezer's father dies, his condition becomes increasingly hopeless. Eliezer does what he can to help his father, but he is powerless against death. Yet Eliezer feels he has somehow failed his father. He berates himself for not answering after his father calls his name; he is silent because he is afraid the officer who has beaten his father for not remaining silent as the SS are giving orders will come after him. Readers can find the sense of relief he feels when his father passes away understandable, but Eliezer cannot forgive himself.

In Night, Section 8 how is the situation of Eliezer's father similar to that of Madame Schächter?

Eliezer's father has deteriorated greatly. He cannot make it to the bathroom and sometimes soils himself. His fellow prisoners claim they are beating him because of this situation. They also take his rations. In Section 2, Madame Schächter cries out on the train and talks about a fire. At first, people try to calm her, but ultimately she is beaten and gagged. She upsets those people around her who are already in a state of panic. Like Madame Schächter, Eliezer's father is making things worse for the people around him. The men in the bunk are beyond the point of showing sympathy and instead respond with cruelty and violence.

In Night, Section 9 how does Eliezer's life change after his father dies?

After the death of his father, Eliezer becomes listless. He tells the reader that he won't describe his life during the remainder of his time at Buchenwald because "It no longer mattered." He spends his days "in total idleness" and only dreams of "an extra ration of soup." His concerns center solely on his own welfare and the food he needs to survive; he says he no longer thinks of his parents. It is clear that although he is finally free to focus only on his own welfare, he has also lost his reason to live.

Why don't Eliezer and the others think of revenge when they are liberated in Night, Section 9?

Eliezer and the others are too weak and broken down to consider revenge when they are freed. Eliezer says they can think "only of bread," and that even after they have eaten, they do not think of revenge. Some seek more food, clothing, and sex. Beyond the physical struggles each man has gone through to survive, the prisoners have suffered enormous emotional trauma. At this stage, revenge cannot be the priority. First, the Jews need to embrace and explore their freedom. Wiesel seems to repeat the fact that revenge is not on their minds to show the profound impact the liberation had on the former prisoners.

What is the meaning of the last words in Night, Section 9: "a corpse was contemplating me ... The look in his eyes ... has never left me"?

Eliezer has not seen himself since he left the ghetto. In addition to the effects of starvation, he sees the deadened person he has become as a result of his horrific experiences in the concentration camps. He went into the camps as a pious Jew, and comes out as someone who questions God's existence. He has lost his parents and sister and has no clear direction in his life. The ending retains the close focus on his own experiences that Wiesel sustains throughout the memoir. He does not attempt to speak for all the Jews who died in the Holocaust; he can only speak of its soul-deadening effect on himself. At the same time, it offers some hope. He can distance himself from the corpse in the mirror; he writes about "his eyes," not "my eyes." Readers can believe that there is a future for the boy who lived to tell his story.

Why might Wiesel have chosen to leave the sections in Night unnumbered and untitled?

The lack of section titles and numbers makes the book feel episodic. It emphasizes the text's status as a memoir, not an autobiography; for example, he does not go on to tell readers what happened to him after his recovery from illness after the liberation of Buchenwald. Much like an American slave narrative, Night presents the key incidents from Wiesel's experience that have burned themselves into his memory. The effect is to make the text feel both immediate, as the reader relives experiences through Eliezer's narration, and to make the events seem real. They are not portrayed in carefully crafted chapters, but in the haphazard way they occurred.

How does the use of rhetorical questions and figurative language give Night its power?

Elie Wiesel uses a number of literary techniques in Night, including rhetorical questions and figurative language. Wiesel occasionally breaks from the close focus on Eliezer's point of view to ask rhetorical questions of the reader. For example, when he talks about how he and his father would discuss the fate of his mother and sister Tzipora, he asks, "We pretended, for what if one of us still did believe?" The question helps the reader picture the uncertainty the father and son feel about the fate of their family members: they suspect the worst but try to hope for the best, if only to help the other to cope. When the author interjects, "Poor Father! Of what then did you die?" into a discussion of the yellow star, he again makes the reader stop to consider the implications of the question. Shlomo has not died because of a symbol, but he has certainly died from the evil motives that stand behind the symbol. The author's figurative language includes the use of similes and metaphors. His similes include comparing Moshe the Beadle to an awkward clown, and a civilian warehouse employee to "a shopkeeper receiving a delivery of old rags." These similes help to make both important and unimportant characters memorable. Metaphors include "the word 'chimney' ... floated in the air" and "Two cauldrons of soup ... Two lambs without a shepherd." The metaphors help readers to understand the enormous significance of the details to Eliezer.

For what purposes did Elie Wiesel write the book Night?

In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, the author acknowledged he didn't have the right to speak for all those who perished. Still, he broke the vow of silence he had made after the war regarding his experiences in the Holocaust to write Night. When he broke his promise to himself, he did so in order to act as witness to the atrocities. Wiesel hoped that by sharing his story he could ensure the Holocaust would never be forgotten. In particular, he hoped it would serve as a warning of the evil that men can inflict on one another and "try to prevent the enemy from enjoying one last victory" by not letting the Nazis' crimes be erased from human memory.

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