Essay on Literary Devices in 'Night'

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Elie Wiesel expresses his views and his experiences through his memoir Night and in “The Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech Delivered by Elie Wiesel in Oslo on December 10th, 1986.” In Night, Elie explains the struggles and hardships he faced during the Holocaust. Elie reflects on his experiences and exposes the world to many lessons during his Nobel Peace Prize speech. Both the memoir and the speech express themes relating to taking action and remembering the past.

The theme introduced in Elie’s speech is that people need to take action and not remain silent to make a difference and it is demonstrated in Night. He explains that being indifferent does not help anyone, but people fighting for their beliefs will cause positive change. He describes that people in the world “must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented” (118). Silence is a symbol in Night that represents a lack of emotion and fear within the characters. Staying quiet is not a solution to a problem. People going along with what everyone else is doing and not intervening in any way will lead them to a bad situation. The best way to make a difference is to question others, make effective choices, and take initiative. In his memoir, Elie describes Moishe who is a beadle that was deported from Sighet to Poland and controlled by the Gestapo for a part of his life. When Moishe returns he warns everyone that a tragedy is coming, but the people of the town refuse to believe him so he explains to Elie, “I wanted to return to Sighet to describe to you my death so that you might ready yourselves while there is still time” (7). Moishe is a prime example of someone who utilizes his voice and takes action to make a difference. He could have made a change, but the people did not do the same as him, and they remained silent and naïve. They did not listen to Moishe and when the Germans came they went along with them and did not question what they were being told to do. Elie communicates his message by showing that if the Jews were more like Moishe and fought for their rights and lives, then they may have had the chance to change the outcome of their lives.

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Furthermore, in his speech, Elie communicates that one must never forget the important events in history that affect the world today. Elie describes that others are at fault when they do not remember life-changing moments and as people, it is their job to share them. Elie explains, “I have tried to keep the memory alive, that I have tried to fight for those who would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices” (118). Remembering and being aware of the important events in history, such as the Holocaust, prevents them from reoccurring. Not forgetting the victims and the tragedies keeps them alive and gives people the motivation to do the best they can to stop an incident from getting to that extreme. In Night, Elie arrives at Buna after a dreadful march, and he takes a moment to reflect on his experiences at the camp that really took a toll on his life. During his first night, Elie says in his mind, “Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever” (34). Elie uses an anaphora to show the extent and the importance of remembering these significant events. The hardships he had to overcome are horrific, but not forgetting what happened and sharing his message with others is the most important lesson that can come from it.

Elie expresses lessons that correspond with not staying silent and not forgetting important events through his memoir Night and his speech. Elie conveys two messages through his speech, but both of them are represented differently in Night. The first message of taking action is shown by other characters making the choice to implement this into their own lives. For example, Moishe and the Americans, who freed the inmates, both took the initiative to change the Holocaust and do what was right for the people. Differently, the second theme of never forgetting important events is illustrated by showing that Elie chooses to apply this in his own life after reflecting on his own experience. If the messages Elie demonstrates are executed in the world today then prejudice, racism, sexism, and more will be decreased. Martin Luther King Jr. is an example of someone who took into account horrible events of racism and decided to use his voice and speak up against it. Therefore, he demonstrated these themes and changed the world.    

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Essay on Literary Devices in ‘Night’. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from
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