Essay Symbolism in Elie Wiesel's Night

860 Words4 Pages
Symbolism in Night by Brooke Justus

Elie Wiesel uses several types of figurative language in Night. In his novel, Elie’s use of symbolism is most important in helping the reader understand the horrors of his experience during the Holocaust. The first and most prevalent example of symbolism in the book is the title itself. By calling the novel “Night” it is apparent to the reader that the Holocaust was a dark experience, full of terror and suffering. The entire novel is filled with “last nights”. Elie experiences the last night withEl his father, the last night in Buna, the last night in the ghetto, and several others throughout the book. The term “night” also references to a life without a God. Wiesel often says that God does not
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The first time fire appears in the book is when Madame Schächter screams in terror, claiming that she can see fire from the train. It later becomes known that she received a vision of the horrors that were coming to them in the near future. Fire is also a symbol of cruelty because of its role in the death of millions in the crematoria and in fire pits. Elie witnesses the burning of babies in the beginning of the novel, which is the first time Elie truly understands the severity of the Nazi power. “Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky,” (Wiesel 34). Fire can also be seen as a symbol of Elie’s loss of his faith in his God and in the Jewish religion. In Judaism, tradition says that the evil and wicked will be condemned to Gehenna and suffer a fiery punishment. However, Elie’s experiences reverse what he was taught by his faith. The innocent were murdered in the crematorium by the evil. This shows how Elie’s faith was strongly questioned during the Holocaust due to the experiences and how his concept of religion was changed dramatically. “Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.” Corpses are also a symbol in Night. Elie often refers to the
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