novel night by elie wiesel
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Who is the narrator, can she or he read minds, and, more importantly, can we trust her or him?
First Person (Central)
The story is told from the first-person view of Elie Wiesel who writes and reflects on his experiences as a 15 and 16-year-old during World War II. Though written around ten years after his liberation from a concentration camp, Elie Wiesel’s narrative generally sticks to the time period he is describing. When relevant, occasionally he provides an anecdote from many years after the action of the book. For example, when we hear about the French girl that Eliezer worked beside at the Buna factory, he tells us that many years later he met her again on a train.
Since Wiesel wrote the book so many years after he was freed from the concentration camp, you can’t help but wonder how the book might be different if written immediately after his liberation, or if written more than 10 years after. For example, would there be more or less anger against his oppressors? Would his faith in God be stronger or weaker than presented in the book? Would the facts be slightly different depending on the amount of time since liberation? The fact that this entire book is told through memory brings up some interesting questions about truth and memory, and how maturity and personal growth over time influences the tone of one’s memories of personal experiences.
I like Elie as a narrator. He seems reliable throughout the story. As his faith is challenged, Ellie becomes more of an authentic character rather than simply an example of Jewish heroism in the face of evil. Ellie is easy to connect with as a person. We don't need to wade through too much bias and subjectivity.