Throughout the book, Night you…
Throughout the book, Night you see Elie, his father, and other Jews be dehumanized. This includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, and the need to use hysterical strength. When the jews got treated like this it made them feel weak, useless, and unappreciated. One example of this was when the Kapos emotionally abused Elie along with others, in the novel it says, “The Kapos were beating us again, I no longer felt the pain.” (pg. 36).
This statement expresses that Elie is emotionally drained, he no longer cared that he was getting beaten because he sees and feels it all the time. Another use of dehumanization in the story was the use of physical abuse. In the story if anyone acted out of order they would get whipped, “I no longer felt anything except the lashes of the whip… Only the first really hurt.” sic (pg. 57) This expresses that because of how often he got beaten it never hurt or surprised him as much as it use to. Lastly you see the use of hysterical strength this is when a character uses extreme strength beyond what is believed to be normal, usually occurring when people are in life-and-death situations an example is found on page 94 stating, “My whole desire to live became concentrated in my nails. I scratched, I fought for a breath of air.
I tore at decaying flesh that did not respond. I could not free myself of that mass weighing down on my chest. Who knows? Was I struggling with a dead man?” In this moment he went into survival mode and he didn’t look back, all his energy was focused on trying to stay alive. This creates the Jews to turn on one another denying all they have been taught about love and equality. All Jews are shocked by the unspeakable tragedies and quickly look to instinct. This forces many to commit intolerable acts in order for one to survive, this results in a chilling disconnection from ones previous self. This includes; loss of compassion and hope, the vulnerability of the powerless, and a change of faith.
As you live at the camp your attitude and mindset change toward people and the situations taking place around you, you start to wonder why this calamity is taking place or why god is abandoning you. One example of what the concentration camp makes of people is when some have a loss of compassion and hope. Elie uttered “We were all going to die here. All limits had been passed. No one had any strength left. And again the night would be long.” – Chapter 7.
This is an example of loss of compassion because it shows that his will to live is gone and he no longer feels like he will survive, he feels like the nights will be dragged on until the day he dies. Also shown in the novel is the vulnerability of the powerless, “One day when we had come to a stop, a worker took a piece of bread out of his bag and threw it into a wagon. There was a stampede. Dozens of starving men fought desperately over a few crumbs. The worker watched the spectacle with great interest.” (pg. 100).
At the camp they are weak and defenseless because the powerful officers wont give them food they will fight to eat because eating meant staying alive. Last but not least, your faith would be heavily tested and altered your faith will fade and change Blessed be God’s name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? page 67. The flames seemed to consume faith and burn each soul to ashes, their faith shifted because no one could understand why they pray to such a loving God but see hundreds die each day. Throughout the holocaust many lessons were learned and taken into consideration, elie wiesel spoke out about the wrong doings in the holocaust, he let the world know that it’s okay to speak out about substandard actions. His Nobel Prize speech sought to open many eyes to their responsibilities in a bad situation he first talked about the responsibility of memory, ¨That I have tried to keep memory alive, that I have tried to fight those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices.
And then I explain to him how naive we were¨ this is a big responsibility because without memory there is no culture and no future. He also talked about the responsibility to educate and not stay silent ¨I swore never to be silent whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.¨