Elie Wiesel


“Night” by Elie Wiesel is a poignant and powerful memoir that captures the harrowing experiences of the author during the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel, born in 1928 in Sighet, Transylvania (now Romania), was a teenager when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp by the Nazis. This book belongs to the genre of autobiographical memoir and is notable for its stark, understated portrayal of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Wiesel’s narrative begins in his hometown and follows his journey through various concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Throughout “Night,” Wiesel explores themes of faith, identity, and the loss of humanity in the face of utter cruelty and despair. The book is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a powerful reminder of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

Elie Wiesel was not just a survivor but a voice for the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. He became a prolific writer, professor, and political activist, advocating for human rights and peace. “Night” has been translated into over 30 languages and remains an essential work in the canon of Holocaust literature, touching the hearts and minds of readers worldwide 🌍✨.

Plot Summary

“Night” by Elie Wiesel is a narrative of survival, despair, and the loss of innocence in the face of unimaginable cruelty. The book is structured around the main events of Wiesel’s experience during the Holocaust.

Exposition: The memoir begins in Sighet, Transylvania, where Elie, a Jewish teenager, lives with his family. The Jewish community initially disbelieves the threat of the Holocaust, despite warnings from deported foreigners.

Rising Action: Elie and his family are forced into ghettos and then deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. Upon arrival, Elie is separated from his mother and sisters but remains with his father. The brutal conditions and inhuman treatment he witnesses mark the beginning of his horrific journey.

Climax: The most intense part of Elie’s journey occurs as he and his father undergo the dehumanizing processes of the camp, struggle to survive the forced marches, and face the constant threat of death. Elie’s faith and humanity are severely tested.

Falling Action: As the war nears its end, the prisoners are forced on a death march to Buchenwald. Elie’s father dies, leaving him to confront his guilt and sorrow alone.

Resolution: The memoir concludes with the liberation of the camps by the American army. Elie is freed, but he is forever changed by his experiences, haunted by the death, suffering, and inhumanity he witnessed.

This summary encapsulates the core journey of Elie Wiesel in “Night,” reflecting on the profound impact of the Holocaust on his life and identity.

Character Analysis

“Night” by Elie Wiesel features several key characters who significantly impact Elie’s life and experiences during the Holocaust. Here is an analysis of the main characters:

Elie Wiesel: The narrator and protagonist, Elie is a deeply religious Jewish teenager from Sighet. Throughout the book, he undergoes a transformation from a devout student of the Talmud to a survivor of the concentration camps, struggling with his faith in God and humanity. His experiences force him to confront the darkest aspects of human nature and his own identity.

Shlomo Wiesel: Elie’s father, Shlomo, is a respected shop owner and community leader in Sighet. In the concentration camps, he becomes a source of strength and a lifeline for Elie. His deteriorating health and eventual death in Buchenwald profoundly affect Elie, marking a pivotal moment in his journey.

Moishe the Beadle: An early character in the memoir, Moishe is a poor, foreign Jew who teaches Elie the Kabbalah. After being deported and escaping the Nazis, Moishe returns to warn the villagers about the atrocities he witnessed, but he is largely ignored. His character represents missed warnings and the tragedy of unheeded advice.

Here is a summary of the character analysis in table format:

CharacterPersonality TraitsMotivationsDevelopment Throughout the Story
Elie WieselReligious, introspective, resilientSurvival, faith, connection with his fatherLoss of faith, gains a hardened resolve, transformation from innocence to experience
Shlomo WieselSteadfast, protective, weakeningSurvival, protect his sonDeteriorates physically and mentally, symbolizes the destruction of the Jewish patriarchal figure
Moishe the BeadleWise, forewarning, disregardedTeach, warn, surviveBecomes a tragic figure of ignored prophecy and suffering

These characters and their journeys throughout “Night” illustrate the profound impacts of the Holocaust on individuals and the complex interplay of faith, survival, and identity.

Themes and Symbols

“Night” by Elie Wiesel is rich with themes and symbols that contribute to its deep exploration of the Holocaust’s impact on the human spirit and identity.

Loss of Faith: One of the central themes in “Night” is the protagonist’s struggle with his faith in God amidst the atrocities of the Holocaust. Elie, who starts as a devout believer, experiences a profound crisis of faith as he witnesses the suffering and evil around him.

Inhumanity towards Others: The memoir starkly portrays the brutal inhumanity inflicted by the Nazis on Jews during the Holocaust. This theme is central to understanding the depths of cruelty and the loss of empathy in extreme circumstances.

Father-Son Relationships: The bond between Elie and his father, Shlomo, is a pivotal element of the narrative. It represents familial love, responsibility, and the tragic effects of the Holocaust on personal relationships.

Identity and Self-Preservation: Elie’s journey is also a narrative of his changing identity and the survival instincts that the concentration camp experience enforces. This theme delves into how extreme deprivation and terror can alter one’s sense of self.

Silence: Silence is a powerful symbol in “Night,” representing both the Jewish victims’ helplessness and the world’s indifference to their suffering. Elie’s struggle with silence and its implications for memory and justice is a recurring motif.

These themes and symbols are integral to “Night,” offering a nuanced and profound reflection on the Holocaust’s effects on individual lives and collective memory. They serve to deepen the reader’s understanding of the narrative’s historical and emotional context.

Style and Tone

The writing style and tone of Elie Wiesel’s “Night” are integral to its impact as a memoir of the Holocaust. Here’s how these elements contribute to the mood and atmosphere of the book:

Sparse and Direct: Wiesel’s style is notably sparse and direct, which lends a stark clarity to his recounting of the horrors of the Holocaust. This straightforwardness enhances the authenticity and immediacy of his experiences.

Reflective and Introspective: Despite the often brutal and direct narrative, there is a deeply reflective and introspective tone in Wiesel’s recounting. He delves into his thoughts and feelings, exploring the profound effects of his experiences on his faith and identity.

Somber and Haunting: The tone of “Night” is overwhelmingly somber and haunting. Wiesel captures the despair and horror of the Holocaust, creating a mood that reflects the gravity of his experiences.

Urgent and Forceful: There’s an urgency and forcefulness in Wiesel’s writing, especially in his moral and ethical reflections. This aspect of his style emphasizes the necessity of remembering and bearing witness to the atrocities he experienced.

Poetic and Symbolic: Although “Night” is a work of non-fiction, Wiesel often uses poetic language and symbolism to convey the depth of his experiences and emotions, adding layers of meaning to the narrative.

These stylistic and tonal qualities of “Night” are pivotal in conveying the intensity of Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust experiences, making the memoir a powerful and enduring piece of literature.

Literary Devices Used in Night

Elie Wiesel’s “Night” employs various literary devices that enhance the narrative’s emotional and thematic depth. Here are the top 10 devices used in the book:

  1. Metaphor — Wiesel uses metaphors to convey the indescribable horrors of the Holocaust, likening the concentration camps to “an open grave” or describing his loss of faith as a darkness that envelops him.
  2. Simile — Through similes, he draws comparisons to amplify the narrative’s emotional impact, such as likening himself and other prisoners to “ghosts” or “shadows of themselves.”
  3. Imagery — Vivid imagery is used to paint a stark picture of the camp conditions, the physical appearance of the prisoners, and the acts of violence, helping readers visualize the events and empathize with the victims.
  4. Foreshadowing — Wiesel subtly foreshadows future events, like the early warnings from Moishe the Beadle, hinting at the impending catastrophe and creating a sense of impending doom.
  5. Irony — There is poignant irony in the narrative, such as Jews praying in the camp when God seems absent, or the tragic moments of hope followed by despair.
  6. Personification — At times, Wiesel gives human traits to inanimate objects or abstract concepts, such as describing night as swallowing the last of the daylight, symbolizing the loss of hope and the engulfing terror of the camps.
  7. Allusion — References to biblical stories or Jewish traditions are common, linking the Holocaust experiences to a broader historical and religious context.
  8. Repetition — Wiesel uses repetition to emphasize certain experiences, phrases, or feelings, enhancing the narrative’s emotional power and the monotony of camp life.
  9. Symbolism — Various symbols, like fire representing death and night symbolizing darkness and loss of faith, are potent throughout the book, conveying deeper meanings and themes.
  10. Paradox — The use of paradoxes, such as finding strength in weakness or freedom in death, reflects the complex and often contradictory experiences of Holocaust survivors.

These literary devices are skillfully woven into the narrative of “Night,” each contributing to the memoir’s powerful depiction of suffering, survival, and the search for meaning in the midst of darkness.

Literary Devices Examples

In “Night” by Elie Wiesel, various literary devices are used to convey the depth of the Holocaust experience. Here are examples and explanations for each of the top 10 literary devices identified in the book.


  1. Example: “The world had become a hermetically sealed cattle car.” Explanation: This metaphor illustrates the claustrophobia, isolation, and inescapability of the Holocaust experience.
  2. Example: “Our minds were numb with indifference.” Explanation: Here, numbness is used to metaphorically describe the mental state of detachment caused by continuous suffering.
  3. Example: “Silence was the symphony of death.” Explanation: This metaphor powerfully conveys how silence represents the overwhelming presence of death in the camps.


  1. Example: “He looked like a corpse standing upright.” Explanation: This simile starkly illustrates the physical and spiritual depletion of the prisoners.
  2. Example: “Our souls were dead, like extinguished lamps.” Explanation: This comparison emphasizes the loss of hope and humanity.
  3. Example: “We were all like madmen.” Explanation: This simile reflects the extreme mental strain and disorientation experienced by the prisoners.


  1. Example: “Flames were leaping from a ditch, gigantic flames.” Explanation: This imagery vividly describes the crematoria, symbolizing the industrialized death and destruction.
  2. Example: “Snow was falling like ashes.” Explanation: This imagery links the snow to the ashes from the crematorium, merging natural and tragic elements.
  3. Example: “Faces all around me were etched in pain.” Explanation: This creates a vivid picture of the agony experienced by the prisoners, personalizing their suffering.


  1. Example: “Moishe the Beadle warned us, telling his story to whoever would listen.” Explanation: This early warning foreshadows the coming horror and the community’s disbelief or inability to comprehend it.
  2. Example: “The yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal …” Explanation: This statement ironically foreshadows the lethal persecution symbolized by the yellow star.
  3. Example: “There were rumors of mass deportations.” Explanation: The rumors foreshadow the imminent deportations to concentration camps.


  1. Example: “We were happy, we were going to live.” Explanation: This ironic happiness occurs when the prisoners think they are safe, not knowing the reality of their fate.
  2. Example: “The choice was in our hands. For once we could decide our fate.” Explanation: This bitter irony reflects the false sense of control in a situation where there is none.
  3. Example: “Thank God, we are rid of the ghetto.” Explanation: The tragic irony here is the initial relief at leaving the ghetto, not realizing the true horror that awaits.


  1. Example: “Death enveloped us, it suffocated us.” Explanation: Personification of death intensifies the omnipresent threat felt in the concentration camps.
  2. Example: “Night wrapped itself around me tightly.” Explanation: This gives night an active, almost suffocating presence, symbolizing the engulfing darkness of the Holocaust experience.
  3. Example: “Fear had become our daily bread.” Explanation: Here, fear is personified as something consumed daily, indicating its constant and overwhelming presence.


  1. Example: “Job was a biblical figure who questioned God’s justice.” Explanation: The allusion to Job reflects Wiesel’s own struggle with faith and understanding in the face of immense suffering.
  2. Example: “We felt like the children of Israel.” Explanation: This allusion to the biblical Exodus story parallels the prisoners’ journey and suffering.
  3. Example: “Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, was never said.” Explanation: The allusion to Kaddish highlights the depth of loss and the breakdown of religious norms.


  1. Example: “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp.” Explanation: The repetition of “never shall I forget” emphasizes the indelible impact of the Holocaust experiences.
  2. Example: “Every fiber in me rebelled.” Explanation: Repetition here conveys the intense inner turmoil and resistance Wiesel felt.
  3. Example: “Why, but why would I bless Him?” Explanation: The repeated questioning of faith underscores the deep spiritual crisis.


  1. Example: “Fire is often mentioned, symbolizing destruction and the Nazis’ cruel power.” Explanation: Fire symbolizes not only the literal destruction but also the hellish conditions of the camps.
  2. Example: “Night as a recurring motif symbolizes darkness, fear, and the loss of faith.” Explanation: Night becomes a metaphor for the entire Holocaust experience, representing the darkness that descended upon the Jewish people.
  3. Example: “Bread represents life, survival, and desperation.” Explanation: In the camp, bread symbolizes the basic struggle for survival and the primal instinct to live.


  1. Example: “The living were dead, and the dead were still alive.” Explanation: This paradox captures the blurred line between life and death in the camps, where the living struggled to maintain humanity and the dead were often a haunting presence.
  2. Example: “Silence louder than screams.” Explanation: This paradox illustrates how the absence of sound or response can be more powerful and distressing than overt expressions of pain or fear.
  3. Example: “Freedom in imprisonment.” Explanation: The paradox here reflects how, in losing everything, some found a perverse form of freedom from the constraints of their previous lives.

Night – FAQs

What is the main message of “Night” by Elie Wiesel?

  • The main message of “Night” is to bear witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust, highlighting the importance of remembering and understanding the depths of human cruelty, the fragility of civilization, and the enduring spirit of those who survived.

How does Elie Wiesel’s identity change throughout “Night”?

  • Elie Wiesel’s identity transforms from a religious, hopeful, and naive boy into a survivor who faces the loss of his family, faith, and innocence. He becomes more hardened and disillusioned with humanity and God, deeply marked by the trauma he endures.

Why is “Night” an important book to read?

  • “Night” is important because it provides a personal, poignant, and harrowing account of the Holocaust, serving as a powerful reminder of the dangers of hatred, silence, and indifference. It helps ensure that the memories of those who suffered are not forgotten.

How does Elie Wiesel describe his relationship with his father in “Night”?

  • Wiesel describes his relationship with his father as central to his survival and emotional state during the Holocaust. Their bond is one of mutual support, profound love, and dependence, which becomes increasingly poignant and desperate as the narrative progresses.

What role does faith play in “Night”?

  • Faith plays a complex role in “Night”; it is a source of comfort, identity, and community for Elie at the beginning, but becomes a source of struggle and disillusionment as he witnesses the horrors of the concentration camps and the absence of divine intervention.

How does Elie Wiesel use literary devices to convey his experiences in “Night”?


1. What town is Elie Wiesel from?SighetAuschwitzBucharestWarsaw
2. Who was Moishe the Beadle?Elie’s teacherA Nazi officerElie’s brotherA shopkeeper
3. What symbolizes Elie’s loss of faith in “Night”?The night itselfFireSilenceHis tattoo number
4. How does Elie feel towards his father by the end of the book?AngryIndifferentDeeply connectedGuilty
5. What is the primary setting of “Night”?Concentration campsElie’s hometownA trainA forest
6. Which literary device is prevalent in Wiesel’s depiction of the Holocaust?HyperboleMetaphorOnomatopoeiaAlliteration
7. What does the book “Night” primarily explore?Adventure storiesThe history of TransylvaniaHolocaust experiencesPolitical theories
8. How does Elie Wiesel describe the inmates’ feelings during the liberation?Joyful and hopefulConfused and numbAngry and vengefulEuphoric and relieved
9. What major event in “Night” leads to Elie and his family being moved from their home?A festivalThe liberation of their townThe invasion by the NazisA natural disaster
10. What was Elie’s main internal struggle throughout “Night”?Choosing between staying with his mother or fatherLosing faith in humanity and GodDeciding to escape aloneFinding food and water


Identify the literary devices in the following paragraph from “Night”:

“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me of the eternal desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”


  1. Repetition: “Never shall I forget” is repeated throughout the paragraph, emphasizing the lasting impact of the traumatic experiences.
  2. Imagery: Descriptions like “little faces of the children” and “wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky” provide vivid and emotional images.
  3. Symbolism: The “night” symbolizes the darkness and horror of the Holocaust experience that engulfed Wiesel’s life.
  4. Personification: Giving human characteristics to “nocturnal silence” and saying it “deprived me of the eternal desire to live” personifies silence as a force that takes something away from him.
  5. Metaphor: Describing the traumatic moments as those that “murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust” uses metaphor to express profound loss and disillusionment.