Tone, Motif and Theme in Night Essay

726 Words 3 Pages
When people lose their dignity, they also lose a part of the very thing that makes them human. Despair, hopelessness, fear and apathy are all ways a human can lose their humanity. The eyes provide a window onto the soul, and thus a view on the person’s mental state. The eyes also function in reverse, as a symbolic gesture of control over someone. All of this is present in Night, by Elie Wiesel, an account of human tragedy, human cruelty, human dignity, and the loss thereof.
     At the start of the book, the residents of Sighet live relatively happily, oblivious to the approaching storm. Moché the Beadle practices the cabbala, with, “dreaming eyes” (13), living his life by his own terms. His eyes are his
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Elie’s father loses his strength quickly, “his eyes [grew] dim” (46) almost immediately after arriving. The horrors which he had seen were easily enough to crush the spirit of a former community leader. His disbelief of the horrors he saw questioned the very basis of his soul, and he began to despair. His father’s eyes soon become, “veiled with despair” (81), as he loses hope for survival. The despair of camp life shrouds the human within, showing only another cowed prisoner. Elie’s father no longer can see hope, having his vision clouded by cruelty and hate. Elie’s father is eventually overwhelmed by despair; he, “would not get up. He knew that it was useless” (113). The Nazis crushed his soul, killed his family, stole his home, and eventually took his life; this treatment destroyed the person inside the body. He could no longer summon the strength to stay alive, so he gave up, and collapsed.
     By the end, the only emotion left among the prisoners is fear. The prisoners desire food more than anything, two cauldrons of soup are there for the taking, “but who would dare?” (66). The prisoners are crushed by the fear of death or pain, and drop their hope and desire, having lost the last vestiges of humanity. Without their humanity, the only thing that matters to them is satisfaction of bodily requirements, and the prevention of