Essay on Existentialism in Night

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Existentialism in Night In his essay “Existentialism”, Jean Paul Sartre discusses the main beliefs of existentialism. Perhaps the most important belief of existentialism is that there is no human nature, and there is no God. This means that each individual man has control of his own destiny. The definition of each individual man is the sum of his life and all he has accomplished in his life. He is also responsible for all the choices and actions he makes in his life. These types of choices and actions can be seen in the book “Night” by Elie Wiesel. This book is a story about a boy, Wiesel, who is taken to a concentration camp with his family. It follows him and his father through their trials and movement from Auschwitz …show more content…
The poor man Moshe the Beadle helps him; they would sit for hours and talk. Sartre would call this existentialism. Wiesel took control of his own destiny and future, despite his father’s wishes. He doesn’t let his father’s efforts discourage him. He begins to learn the cabbala, which is an existentialist decision since the main idea of existentialism is creating your own self.

Another example of an existentialist decision occurs in the concentration camp of Buna, when a young boy is to be hanged with two adults. Many of the Oberkapos had little boys that they liked and had hang around for sexual purposes. Someone at the camp was suspected of blowing up the electric station, and eventually they found it to be the Dutch Oberkapo, and he was arrested. This Oberkapo had a little boy (not his son), and he would not say whether or not the man had done it, so they decided to hang him. Many of the men are thoroughly disturbed by the fact that the boy being hanged was so young. Many of the young boys grew meaner than some adults, but “the Dutchman’s little servant was loved by all. He had the face of a sad angel” (60). The Lagerkapo who is supposed to do the hanging refuses, and SS officers have to step in and perform the execution. This Lagerkapo shows an existentialist decision because he takes control of his own life. He does not want his life to include the hanging of a small boy. Remember, according to Sartre, a man’s life includes
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