About the Author
Elie Wiesel
• In 1940, Romania became
part of Hungary, an area
that was soon invaded by
the Nazis.
• Elie had two older sisters
and one younger sister.
• His family was Jewish, and
Elie studied Hebrew and
the Hassidic sect of
About the Author
Elie Wiesel
• Elie survived and was
liberated on April 11, 1945.
• After the war, he learned that
his two older sisters had
• Elie spent the next ten years
living and studying in France,
refusing to write anything
about his experiences in the
concentration camp.
Elie Wiesel’s strong
connection with the
Jewish Community
Elie Wiesel’s Novel, Night
– His father was
involved with the
– Wiesel studied the
Torah (1st five books in
the Old Testament)
– Wiesel studied the
Talmud (oral law) and
the Cabbala
– Wiesel’s book was
published in 3 different
languages and as part
of a trilogy with Dawn
and Day; containing
more detail of his
Genre of Night
• While the book Night is about
Wiesel’s life, it is not necessarily
considered an autobiography
• He changes facts to make his
characters different, making this
a fictional story.
• Because of this, his story is
considered more of a memoir
than an actual novel.
• Wiesel now lives in New
England as an American citizen.
Malnutrition and
starvation were
common in the
concentration camps
• With the encouragement
of Francois Mauriac,
Eliezer Wiesel broke his
silence on the horror of
the Holocaust to produce
an 800 page memoir
entitled, Un di Velt Hot
Geshvign, in 1956.
• That cathartic story was
reworked over two years
and became the slim
1958 novella La Nuit
which became Night in
• Wiesel's novel revealed
the Holocaust in stark,
evocative, detail.
Background of Novel:
Elie as a young
boy; passengers
load onto the
• This story is about Elie
Wiesel, a young teenage,
Jewish boy who is a survivor
of the holocaust.
• The story takes place in
Sighet, Transylvania,
Hungary, and Auschwitz,
Germany in 1944-1945
• The German troops invade
his hometown, force all of the
Jews to load up on a train and
travel to Auschwitz.
• Night begins in 1941 in a
Hasidic Community in the
town of Sighet, Transylvania.
• There we meet a devout
young boy named Eliezer
who is so fascinated by his
own culture and religion that
he wishes to study Jewish
• His father, however, says he
must master the Talmud
before he can move on to the
mystical side of the Jewish
• Moshe the Beadle indulges
the boy until the reality of
World War II reaches them.
• The fascists come to power in
Romania and foreign Jews
are deported; Moshe with
• Some days later, he
makes it back to town and
tells them what happened.
• All the people presumed
deported were shot.
• That was only the
beginning, the dusk
of the coming night.
• Within a matter of
paragraphs, officers
of the Nazi SS corps
have arrived and the
family is broken up
and sent to
• The metaphorical
night only gets
darker as Eliezer
struggles to survive
in the brutality and
degradation of the
“The yellow star? Oh well, what of it? You don’t die of it…”
Elie Wiesel’s father
• They first arrive in
Birkenau where Eliezer
and his father are
separated from his mother
and sisters, never to see
them again.
• They have to endure
“selections” (where the
German troops select
those who will go to the
furnace and die, and those
who will go to the barracks
and work).
The many barbed
wires and barracks of
a concentration camp
– Problems and Conflict
• Wiesel encounters many
obstacles, mentally,
physically, and spiritually,
that he must endure.
• He is forced to witness
murders, is malnourished,
and is constantly
doubting his once
confident faith.
• The entire story is based
on his experience there.
• Eliezer - The narrator of
Night, protagonist, a
teenage boy in the 1940’s.
Dedicated to his faith in
the beginning.
• Chlomo - Eliezer’s father.
His name is only
mentioned one time
throughout the whole
novel, and is the only other
character that is constant
until the end. Highly
regarded in the
• Moshe the Beadle Eliezer’s teacher of Jewish
mysticism, Moshe is a
poor Jew who lives in
• Madame Schächter A Jewish woman from
Sighet who is deported
with the rest of the
community, and goes
• Juliek A young musician who
Eliezer meets in
• Tibi and Yosi Two brothers who
Eliezer becomes friends
• Dr. Josef Mengele the historically infamous
Dr. Mengele was the
cruel doctor who
presided over the
selection of arrivals at
• Idek - Eliezer’s Kapo
(Nazi police officer at
Buna, the work camp)
Dr. Josef Mengele was
appropriately nicknamed “the
Angle of Death” by inmates at
Eliezer’s struggle to maintain
faith in a benevolent God
Inhumanity toward other
The importance of FatherSon bonds
Rhetorical Devices
Wiesel’s use of language helps emphasize the
meaning, action, and tone of the sections.
Rhetorical Devices
Rhetorical Questions:
Rhetorical questions are asked to achieve a purpose other than
finding the answer to the question.
The speaker may want to encourage reflection in the reader.
For example, when Eliezer sees the babies being thrown into the
fire, he asks a series of questions.
“Was I still alive? Was I awake? How was it possible that men,
women, and children were being burned and that the world kept
silent?” (p. 32)
Eliezer does not expect an answer to these questions.
He wants the reader to think about what his or her reaction might
have been in seeing the same thing.
Rhetorical Devices
Sentence variety
Pay attention to the sentence structures that Wiesel
uses in the narration.
At some points in the memoir the sentences are long,
and in some passages the sentences are only one
Wiesel varies the sentences length, structure, and
order in order to parallel action in the passage or to
help establish a tone.
Rhetorical Devices
Wiesel uses understatement throughout Night to help the
reader visualize the events in the memoir.
Because many people are familiar with the details of the
Holocaust, Wiesel understands that it would be difficult to
adequately describe the true nature of what happened.
Instead, he lets the silence between the words serve as the
true meaning.
Figurative language
Wiesel uses figurative language throughout the
memoir to amplify the images that the
narration already creates.
Figurative language
Be certain not to miss the “like” or “as” when reading the
For example, when Eliezer describes Mrs. Schachter on the
train he states: “…she looked like a withered tree in a field of
wheat.” (p. 25)
The image shows a woman who stands alone among the
people who surround her.
She is already dead, as indicated by the word withered.
Figurative language
Metaphors can be recognized by finding the two ideas that are
being compared.
For example, as the prisoners are first being transported from
Sighet, they come face to face with the men who will be
guarding them.
Eliezer uses the following metaphor to describe the men.
“Strange-looking creatures, dressed in striped jackets and black
pants, jumped into the wagon.” (p. 28)
The image of the strange-looking creatures is meant to describe
the men who come into the train to brutalize the prisoners.
They are not really creatures, but Wiesel’s image illustrates their
animalistic brutality.
Figurative language
Personification is used to give human qualities to
animals or objects.
“A glacial wind was enveloping us.” (p. 36)
“The stomach alone was measuring time.” (p. 52)
“Jealousy devoured us, consumed us.” (p. 59)
Figurative language
Verbal irony is when someone says one thing and means
another; dramatic irony is when the reader knows
something that the character does not know; situational
irony is the discrepancy between the expected results
and the actual results.
For example, when Eliezer goes to meet the dentist, the
dentist has a mouth of “yellow, rotten teeth.” (p. 51)
 The irony is that a dentist should have mouth of perfect teeth.
Another example of irony is the inscription that is on the
iron gate at Auschwitz: “Work makes you free.”
Figurative Language
Foreshadowing is a literary device that is used when the
speaker gives hints about what is going to happen later in the
There are various examples of foreshadowing in Night, but they
are very subtle.
The reader often recognizes them after reading further in the
One of the clearest examples of foreshadowing is Mrs.
Schächter’s vision of the fires before the prisoners reach the
camps. (p. 24)
Throughout Night, Wiesel repeats literary devices and
images that help to develop the memoir’s major
how night and light are used throughout the text;
how the Jewish traditions and holidays help to pace the
memoir; and
how animal imagery is used to explore the dehumanization of
the Jews.
Point of View or Narration
a story in which the narrator speaks in the
first person as he relates to the story. The
narrator may or may not be the protagonist
Wiesel uses the first-person point of view to
Think about the effect first-person narration
has on the reader. How does it make the
reader feel?
the feeling created by the setting,
characters, or action of a work
- a reference to a text, historical figure,
event, or place that the writer expects the
reader to understand
Why does writers use allusion? What do
allusions have to offer readers?
U.S. President Barack
Obama presents the
2009 National
Humanities Medal to
Holocaust survivor Elie
…in the East Room of the
White House in
Washington, February 25,
• Wiesel has lived his life speaking out
against all forms of racism and
• In 1985 he was awarded the
Congressional Medal of Freedom and,
in 1986, the Nobel Prize for Peace.
• He is partially responsible
for the United States
Holocaust Memorial
Museum in
Washington D.C.
The house in
Sighet where
Wiesel was
photographed in 2007.
The image depicts a
deserted street in
Sighet's Jewish getto,
after the Jews were
deported from it to be
exterminated at
Auschwitz, in May
…just three weeks before the
Normandy invasion.

Night by Elie Wiesel