Silent Night

Nighttime is usually viewed as a silent period; cars no longer clutter the roads, restaurants have shut down, and people are quietly sleeping in their beds. It seems only appropriate then that Elie Wiesel's Night should have so much meaning wrapped up in this theme of silence. In fact, Wiesel's personal account of the Holocaust recounts what could be described as a "silent period" in world history (for various reasons that will be examined). This idea of silence floods Wiesel's narrative in several forms. This paper will attempt to examine three specific types of silence present in Wiesel's short novel: individualistic - as seen specifically through the eyes of the narrator, communal - as it relates to both the Jewish community and their relationship with the Nazis, and spiritual - both in Wiesel's struggle with God and in the Lord's apparent silence to His followers.

The first of these is perhaps the saddest example present in Night. Wiesel struggles mainly with what could be described as physical silence, in that he is unable or unwilling to physically act even when he knows that he should. One of the first examples occurs when Idek attacks Wiesel for no apparent reason. Wiesel tries his...

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