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Night Family Relationship Essay: Analysis of Memoir Night by Elie Wiesel

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“ Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander ” (Yehuda Bauer- Holocaust Historian). In the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel, the book shows how in the beginning Elie and his father weren’t very close but as they are put into concentration camps, their relationship starts to grow stronger with Elie’s father caring for him more, and near the end we see that Elie takes care of his father like his father had for Elie by making sure all his needs are taken care of.

In the beginning of the book Elie Wiesel and his father are shown to be emotionally distant from one another. The text says, “ My father was a cultured, rather unsentimental man. There was never any display of emotion, even at home” (Wiesel 14). That says that Elie’s father never openly showed affection for his family or others. The text also says, “ My parents ran a shop. Hilda and Bea helped them with the work. As for me, they said my place was at school” (Wiesel 14). That shows that Elie was distant from the rest of his family because even though, him going to school is better for him he would be doing something separate from everyone else. At this point, Elie and his father don’t show love to one another. He felt as if he were alone from the rest of his family.

After Elie and his father are separated from his sisters and mother, we are shown the first sign of Elie’s father openly caring for Elie. The text says, “ Yet that was the moment when I parted from my mother. I had no time to think, but already I felt the pressure of my father's hand: we were alone” (Wiesel 38). After being seperated from the rest of his family, Elie’s father holds on to his hand because that is the only family he has left, therefore showing affection towards him by holding onto his hand.

As their time in the concentration camps progresses we are shown more displays of affection between Elie Wiesel and his father. The text says, “ My father had brought me a present- half a ration of bread obtained in exchange for a piece of rubber” (Wiesel 79-80). This shows the readers that through the horrid conditions at the concentration camps, Elie and his father had come closer through small things such as just giving each other pieces of bread. The text also says, “ Father! I’ve been looking for you for so long… Where were you?” (Wiesel 111). This shows that Elie becomes worried in the absence of his father, seeing how that’s thats the only family he has left .

In the end we see Elie’s father’s health deteriorating and Elie having to care for his father. The text says, “ I’ll give you a sound piece of advice- don’t give your ration of bread and soup to your old father” (Wiesel 115). Elie had begun to sacrifice his own food to give to his sick father, going hungry himself. He began to feel guilty for having thoughts that he would be better off without his father. The text says, “ He was right, I thought in the most secret region of my heart, but I dared not admit it. It’s too late to save your old father, I said to myself. You ought to be having two rations of bread, two rations of soup” (Wiesel 115). Elie thought that at this point he was just wasting his rations by feeding his father. He thought he would be better off without him, but he didn’t want to admit it.

Elie Wiesel and his father had a complicated relationship. From hidden emotions to sacrificing food for each other to Elie feeling relief after the death of his father. Emotions should not be hidden from family members and your loved ones should be cherished.

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“ Peace is our gift to each other” A quote once said by Elie Wiesel. Elie Wiesel wrote the book Night to inform readers about all the horrible things he and all the other Jewish people had to endure, while at the concentration camps. He informed readers in a well constructed book using figurative language, clear imagery, expressive diction, and sinister tone.

Elie Wiesel uses figurative language in Night many times in the form of similes and metaphors. The text says, “ That night the soup tasted of corpses” (Wiesel 72). This quote from the book is an example of a metaphor. Soup and corpses have no direct correlation to each other, but Elie is comparing the disgust he tastes from the soup that night to corpses to express how uneasy he was feeling after seeing the boy being hanged. Another quote from the text states, “ Within a few minutes, the camp looked like an abandoned ship” (Wiesel 66). This quote is an example of a simile because he compared the concentration camp being empty to an abandoned ship. The camp was emptied because the air-raid sirens went off and everyone went to hide in their blocks leaving the camp looking empty.

Elie Wiesel used imagery in a way that the readers could picture what he was saying in their minds. The text says, “I looked at my little sister Tzipora, her fair hair well combed, a red coat over her arm, a little girl of seven” (Wiesel 28). The way that quote from the book was written allows the readers to picture what his sister might have looked like at that moment. The text also states, “ He was a strong, wellbuilt, broad-shouldered man: bull neck, thick lips, frizzled hair” (Wiesel 55). He allows the readers to clearly picture the head of the camp by describing many traits of his physical appearance.

The diction used in Night is very expressive. The text says, “ Her little boy clung to her; he did not cry out; he did not say a word. He was not even weeping now” (Wiesel 35). Elie Wiesel could have just written all that in a simple and small sentence, but he chose to stretch it out and add more information to make it more expressive and understandable for the readers. The text also states, “ My eyes were open and I was alone- terribly alone in a world without God and without man. Without love or mercy” (Wiesel 75). He could have just stated that he did not believe God was with him anymore but he chose to express it more so the readers could understand the emotional pain he is going through right now.

The tone throughout the book was very tragic, serious, and solemn. The text says, “Yes, I saw it- saw it with my own eyes… those children in the flames” (Wiesel 41). This is an example of a tragic moment in the story. This was one of the first of many horrible things Elie witnesses at the camps. The text also states, “ I awoke on January 29 at dawn. In my father’s place lay another invalid. They must have taken him away before dawn and carried to the crematory. He may have still been breathing” (Wiesel 116). This is one of the most serious and solemn moments in the book. The main character realizes his father has been taken to the crematory because of how sick he had gotten, but that he was still alive when Elie went to sleep that night and that his father may still have endured all the pain of the crematory.


All these different writing styles contribute to his overall purpose by letting us clearly understand what was happening in specific moments and how Elie Wiesel felt during those moments. As a writer, he would want his readers to obtain all the information, especially in a book like this where his main purpose is to tell the world of the sinister horrors he and all the Jewish people had to go through at the concentration camps.

Works Cited

  1. Wiesel, Elie. Night. Austin: Holt, Rineheart, Winston, 1988
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Night Family Relationship Essay: Analysis of Memoir Night by Elie Wiesel. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Night Family Relationship Essay: Analysis of Memoir Night by Elie Wiesel.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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