ChristensenHonors English/ AVID1/18/2018Night Rhetorical Analysis”Night” is a book by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, at the height of the Holocaust toward the end of the Second World War. In the book, “Night,” Elie Wiesel conveys his experience during the Holocaust by using irony and symbolism to embolden people for a dreadful genocide like the Nazi Holocaust to never happen again. Wiesel uses irony to convey his experience during the Holocaust to embolden people to prevent a genocide from taking place in this world again. The decision to be evacuated was made and the sick were supposed to be left behind.
Elie was among the sick because he was recovering from his leg surgery but he and his dad decided to evacuate with the others. As quoted by his dad, “Let’s hope that we shan’t regret it, Eliezer.” Later on, Elie says, “I learned after the war the fate of those who had stayed behind in the hospital.
They were quite simply liberated by the Russians two days after the evacuation.” (Page #82). Elie and his dad had an option to stay or to evacuate with the others. They could have decided to stay because of Elie’s leg not completely healed. But instead, they decided to evacuate with the others. They believed being evacuated would lead them to their freedom.
Ironically when they evacuated, they were imprisoned for another 3 months, facing even worse conditions and obstacles. If they had decided to stay with the sick and not evacuate, they would have been liberated by the Red Army. The irony behind this makes the reader realize that the Jews didn’t know what was going to happen to them the next moment. Living a life and not having the knowledge of if you’re going to survive for another day is a painful feeling. Wiesel takes advantage of this to make his readers realize what the Jews went through was horrendous.
He doesn’t want the readers to feel hatred towards the Nazi’s but instead he wants to make sure the readers learn a lesson from this tragedy and prevent it from happening again. After the Jews are ordered to wear the Yellow stars, Elie’s father said, “‘The yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal …” (Poor Father! Of what then did you die?)” (Page #11). Elie’s father didn’t wear the yellow star because he believed it wasn’t lethal. Ironically soon after, the star was the reason that limited their freedom and eventually lead to the death of him, his wife, and his child.
He died from dysentery at Buchenwald, dying a painful death, emphasizing the irony. Since he didn’t believe it was lethal, in return he suffered a painful death. Again, Wiesel uses the knowledge of unseen to make the readers realize the Jews didn’t saw this coming and would have never thought of a genocide happening to them. This irony obliges readers to put themselves in Jews shoes; imagining the terror emboldens the readers to make sure a genocide never happens again. Elie’s train arrived at Auschwitz, upon arrival they received wonderful news, “The conditions were good. Families would not be separated.
Only the young would work in the factories. The old and the sick would find work in the fields. Confidence soared. Suddenly we felt free of the previous nights’ terror. We gave thanks to God.
“(Page #27). The Jews were really happy and grateful to arrive at Auschwitz after hearing this, but they didn’t realize the future had something else instored for them. Conditions were terrible, families were separated, children were put into flames, there was barely enough food, and overall life was worse than hell there. When they heard the good news, they thanked God but ironically throughout the whole journey, everyone loses their faith in God. Furthermore, they believed last night’s terror was not a big deal if the end result was this good but they didn’t know previous nights’ terror was nothing compared to what they were going to experience.
The irony behind this allows readers to imagine the life in the concentration camps and determine the change in people’s beliefs, terrorizing the readers, and prompting them to take action against genocides and make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Additionally, Wiesel also uses fire as symbol to convey the horror of his experience during the Holocaust to prevent a cruel genocide from taking place again. Elie was questioned by his dad about if he remembered Madame Schachter, Elie didn’t respond but instead thought, “Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.” (Page #34). Wiesel uses fire to symbolize death. It represents the death of Elie’s faith and soul. He loses faith in God after witnessing people getting burned in the crematoria.
He believes if God existed he would never let the innocent get punished, resulting in Elie’s loss of faith. His experience with the crematoria kills his innocence and deprives him of his emotions. The symbolism opens people’s eyes to the horror of the camps’ life and allows the readers to recognize the negative impacts of the crematoria on the Jews. It also allows the readers to imagine themselves in the same situation, building fear within, and resulting in taking action to prevent genocides from happening again. Likewise, on their way to Auschwitz, Madame Schachter prophecies and screams, “Look! Look at this fire! This terrible fire! Have mercy on me!” (Page #25). Here as well, Wiesel uses fire to symbolize death.
Madame Schachter’s infernal reaction scares and builds fear within others for the rest of their life in the camps. Throughout the book, the one thing everybody fears is being sent to the crematoria, emphasizing it as the agent of destruction, where many meet their death at the hands of the Nazis. It also symbolizes the wicked wielding of the power of the fire, using to punish the innocent. Again, the symbolism terrorizes the readers and encourages them to avoid genocides. Upon their arrival at Auschwitz concentration camp, a man yells at the Jews of Sighet, in a harsh tone he says, “Don’t you understand anything? You will be burned! Burned to a cinder! Turned into ashes!” (Page #31). Again, fire symbolizes death and destruction. Flames act as a weapon for the Nazis to kill the Jews and develop fear within them. Many people were thrown by the Nazis in the crematoria, representing fire as death, leading the Jews to develop hatred and fear towards the Nazis and their generated camps.
Even though the camps were dreadful and excruciating, the thought of fire made the Jews seem more vulnerable to death. The crematoria kept reminding them of their closeness to death. The symbolism here energizes the readers to take action and make sure genocides don’t occur ever again. Elie Wiesel conveys his experience during the Holocaust in the book “Night,” by using irony and symbolism to embolden people to prevent genocides to happen.
He wrote “Night” about his dreadful experience in the concentration camps to persuade the world to never let a genocide as violent, cruel, and horrific as the Nazi Holocaust to ever happen again. He emphasizes his point by using irony and symbolism.