Night

Anti-Bildungsroman in Night 11th Grade

A Bildungsroman story is that of formation, education, or coming of age. It is characterized by the development of the young protagonist to become a more complete person. The memoir Night by Elie Wiesel features the opposite, an Anti-Bildungsroman, as sixteen-year- old Elie emerges from the concentration camp at the end as a depleted person. Elie loses his family, he loses his faith, he is physically suffering and starved, and he likely will face trauma for the rest of his life. While he begins the story as a functional and healthy member of society inspired to live, he ends it with nothing at all.

A great contributing factor to Elie’s negative character development is the loss of his family. From the moment he hears the words, “men to the life, women to right,” he is never to see his mother and sister again. During their time in the camp together, he and his father grow closer than they ever have been before. This happens out of necessity for a reason to live, and their relationship carries them through times they otherwise could not have survived. However, eventually Elie’s father dies on the death march. After losing him, Elie has no reason for continuing to live, “nothing mattered to me anymore.” (113). Without his mother...

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