Essay on Dehumanization in Night by Elie Wiesel

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Dehumanization in Night

In the novel, Night, Elie Wiesel narrates his experience as a young Jewish boy during the holocaust. The captured Jews are enslaved in concentration camps, where they experience the absolute worst forms of torture, abuse, and inhumane treatment. Such torture has obvious physical effects, but it also induces psychological changes on those unfortunate enough to experience it. However, these mutations of their character and morality cannot be accredited to weakness of the Jews' spirit, but they can be attributed to the animal-like treatment they receive. They devolve into primitive people, with savage, animal characteristics that are necessary for survival under such conditions.

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They receive news of the deportees working happily in Galicia and are soon able to forget such problems. "Yes, we even doubted that he [Hitler] wanted to exterminate us" (6). They even doubt that Hitler will continue these practices and assume that they are safe. At this point, the Jews are very comfortable and go so far as to recognize Hitler as being humane. Elie's father then holds a community meeting in his backyard, where he is called away, only to find out that they are all going to be deported the next morning. Upon discovering this information, they look to each other for support and comfort. "My father ran to the left and right, exhausted, comforting friends, running to the Jewish council to see if the edict had not been revoked in the meantime" (13). However, just as their physical and mental states deteriorate, so will this unified feeling of friendship and love.

It does not take long for the newly captured Jews to begin turning on each other; denying all that they have ever been taught about love and equality. However, this change of personality is induced by their savage treatment at the hands of the police. "They went by, fallen, dragging their packs, dragging their lives, deserting their homes, the years of their childhood, cringing like beaten dogs" (15). The Jews are

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