The book Night is the story of the author, Elie Wiesel, as he struggles to survive Jewish persecution. During the time of the story, Elie is a young, twelve year-old boy living in Sighet, Romania in 1944. A normal day for him consisted of walking about the town, studying the Talmud, praying, and visiting the synagogue, Jewish house of worship. His world turned upside down when he was transported by train to Auschwitz with his family. He was soon separated from his sisters and mother, only left with his elderly father, a former shopkeeper. Elie describes the torture he faces: death threats, hours of back-breaking labor, starvation, and the greediness of fellow prisoners who will do anything to survive.
Although the story is told in first person, there is a lack of emotion that can be seen from the narrator. The book is told more like a textbook, with facts and distinct memories rather than a diary entry with the deep feelings of disparity and hopelessness that I assume would come with being taken to a concentration camp. The absence of emotion makes it difficult to understand the narrator’s pain and feel close to what he is experiencing.
It is interesting to see how perspectives about material items change in different situations. For example, before going to Auschwitz, Elie’s family and their neighbors buried their special belongings so that they would not have to throw them out onto the streets. However, once in Auschwitz, the only thing of value that Elie has left is his gold tooth crown, and he would not give it up. Even something as everyday as a tooth crown becomes important once you have nothing else. He only truly appreciated the crown when he was at his lowest in life, maybe a message from the author to take time to love your surroundings and not take things for granted, because tangible items do not last forever.
So far I enjoy this book very much, the themes are not too complex to understand yet insightful and the plot is straight-forward and interesting. I would definitely recommend reading it your freshman year of high school, because themes and use of religion are used the book The Chosen but also in World History and Geography when we learn about World War II.