Night Literary Elements


Memoir, Non-fiction

Setting and Context

Europe: Holocaust, World War II

Narrator and Point of View

First Person (Elie Wiesel)

Tone and Mood

Tone: Somber, austere, hopeless
Mood: Dark, pessimistic, reflective

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: Eliezer, his father, his family; Antagonist: Nazi Germany

Major Conflict

Will Eliezer and his father survive the concentration camp? Will humanity survive the holocaust?


The climax occurs when Eliezer’s father passes away and darkness swallows Eliezer whole. Eliezer describes this moment as one that turned living into mere existence, and the following pages are so brief because Eliezer feels that he has nothing more to tell.


"the yellow star? So what, it's not lethal!" (Eliezer's father, pg. 11)
“Fire, I see a fire!” “Jews, listen to me, I see a fire! I see flames, huge flames!” (Madame Schächter, pg. 24)
"Someone began to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I don't know whether, during the history of the Jewish people, men have ever before recited Kaddish for themselves." (Elie Wiesel, pg. 33)


“The yellow star? So what? It’s not lethal..”(11)

“Conditions at Auchwitz was good, families would not be separated” (27)


1) Dr. Mengele (a notorious doctor who decided the selection of who was burned at Auschwitz and Birkenau. He was also known for carrying out horrific medical experiments on prisoners). (pg. 31)
2) The Red Army (the Soviet Army, affiliated with the communist party of the soviet union). (pg. 12)
3) The Angel of Death (sometimes referred to as Azrael is an angel in Abrahamic religions associated with destruction and renewal within the Hebrew Bible). (pg. 34)
4) The Resistance Movement (the American army who liberated the camps). (pg. 114)
5) Zionism (a Jewish movement beginning in the 1800s that resulted in the migration of Jews to Palestine, and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948). (pg. 8)
6) “Work makes you free” (this is the phrase in the iron fence in Auschwitz that Wiesel sees when they approached the camp. This became the most notorious phrase associated with the work camps). (pg. 40)
7) The day of liberation (April 10, 1945). (pg. 114)


Eliezer describes the dark, abysmal, hellish conditions of the concentration camps in which emotion is numbed and replaced by only pain or apathy.


In the Forward, Wiesel reveals that he isn’t sure if he wrote Night in order not to go mad, or whether he had to be mad in order to understand humanity’s true nature of madness.


In many areas, Wiesel parallels his experience with biblical ones; as he approaches the crematorium he describes nearing the “Angel of Death.” When he sees the hanging of the “Sad-Eyed Angel” he suggests that God himself has been executed.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

Juliek’s violin stands in for his person: when Juliek dies, so does his violin, and his last words were not uttered, but instead sung through the violin’s strings.


“the soup tasted like corpses” (65)
“next to him lay his violin, trampled, an eerily poignant little corpse” (95)