The Days Of Darkness English Literature Essay

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After years of struggle and misery, a young boy finally sees the first ray of hope; the Americans had finally arrived. In his autobiography, Night, Elie Wiesel displays his struggle over reality and spirituality in Auschwitz-Birkenau, one of Hitler's concentration camps. The novel investigates human and inhumane capabilities. The story's first person point of view exhibits Elie's childhood innocence. In the beginning of the novel, Elie studies his religion relentlessly. He chooses to be mentored and taught of his religion. Because of his studies in Jewish mysticism, he grew up believing that nothing could exist without god and that god is everywhere all time. However, as Elie experiences the dreadfulness of Auschwitz and the evilness of the Holocaust, he wonders how a benevolent God could be part of such depravity and how an omnipotent God could permit such cruelty to take place. On top of that, the lasting effect of his family's death changes him forever. Despite the hardships Elie faces, in the end he becomes a stronger person than he was before.

Many changes caused the author to become stronger than he was before, but the greatest change to his identity was his loss of faith. Though the author did not thoroughly represent his message, the audience can assume what Elie was thinking. As Elie and his father stand in the line going toward the crematory, people around them recite the prayer of the dead. Elie feels a revolt rise up in him. In his mind he keeps asking himself, "Why should I bless his name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank Him for" (Wiesel 42). Elie is losing his devotion to God, because of the realization of the horrors that surround him. He is blaming God for not helping him get out of the atrocious concentration camp. These are signs that Elie is progressively losing his faith in God. As they move up the line, Elie's father asks him if he remembers Madame Schachter. In Elie's mind, he believes he will never forget the events leading up to where he is currently standing. Also, how his God and his soul were murdered and his dreams were turned to dust (43). Elie suffers not only because he sees his fellow Jews murdered before his eyes, but also because he feels that his God was murdered. His experience in the camp destroys his innocence and his belief in a just and loving God. Also, no matter how long he lives, Elie will never forget how he got there. The audience interprets the author's message as: Elie is losing faith in God because of the horrors he saw in the concentration camp. After three weeks in Auschwitz, some of the Jews talk to God of his mysterious ways, of the sins of the Jewish people, and of their deliverance (53). Elie ceases to pray. He does not deny God's existence, but he doubts His absolute justice (53). While the others Jews pray to God, Elie does not. The audience interprets that Elie has not yet became an atheist. However, the God he knew when he was innocent was murdered. So Elie does not doubt that God exists, but that the current God has a different persona, possibly one indifferent to suffering and a God that Elie does not want to praise. As the novel goes on, Elie and the people in Elie's barrack are forcefully moving to another camp. As they march to the other camp, Elie becomes friends with two other boys. Elie and the two other boys hum tones evoking the calm waters of Jordan and the majestic sanctity of Jerusalem (58). Though he was no longer a firm believer in his religion, it seems as if he turns to thoughts of Jerusalem as future safe-haven. During the march to Gleiwitz, Rabbi Eliahou loses his son. Elie does not remember that Rabbi's son was by him while they were marching until after he tells Rabbi that he had not seen his son. Elie knows that Rabbi's son had left Rabbi behind on purpose. A prayer rises in Elie's heart, to that God in whom he no longer believed (97). My God, Lord of the Universe, give me strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou's son has done (97). An interpretation that even though Elie has lost his faith in God, he still prays for strength to keep him from abandoning his father. Also, it seems his prayer is asking for the strength to preserve his humanity, because the people in the concentration camps are reduced to their most basic. Preserving themselves is the most important goal.

The main struggles in the novel are allegorical to conflicts in the real world. In the novel, Elie not only struggled from his faith in god, but also the inhumane capabilities of Gestapo and Kapo. The Gestapo, were German secret police under Nazi rule. The officers' feeble minds were manipulated by the Nazi's into killing people for no reason. When the Wiesels were placed in the car, a Gestapo officer said, "If anyone is missing, you'll all be shot, like dogs…." (33). The Gestapo officers were willing to kill all the Jews without a reasonable explanation. Elie had to witness the Gestapo kill many Jews for fun during the Holocaust. This situation is like that of Gaddafi's. Though he is no longer alive, his doings were inhumane. Gaddafi had killed many people for over 40 years. He even killed his own people to show he had power. Similar to Hitler's way of showing the world he was powerful. Although Gaddafi killed many people, Hitler manipulated his own people in trying to exterminate an entire race from the world. Even though Hitler was far more destructive then Gaddafi, they both were dictators that did treacherous things. "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn" (Robert Burns). The evil power that Hitler achieved caused millions to be frightened. In today's society, there are still people trying to acquire the power that Hitler once had. "It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways" (Buddha).

Just like how fire reduces plastic to ash, many Jews were reduced to nothing. The Jews that survived the Holocaust were forced to change. From the starvation and the beatings, the survivors would never be the same. Elie was forced to change. His ability to overcome his struggles allowed him to become a stronger being. Although he was furious at God, he never fully lost faith. To a regular audience this novel may seem doleful, but to an audience who has similar struggles, this may greatly move them.