Night Metaphors and Similes

Night (metaphor)

As a metaphor, Eliezer describes a world around him that is “black as night.” As time wars on his world his plunged into darkness when the Nazis extinguish hope and humanity from the concentration camps. By the end of the novel, dawn brings no respite, but instead only emphasizes the darkness of the world around him. IN essence, Night becomes the principal metaphor of the holocaust. In One passage he describes, “ no one prayed, so that the night would pass quickly. The stars were only sparks of fire which devoured us. Should that fire die out one day, there would be nothing left in the sky but dead stars, dead eyes"

"Sad-Eyed Angel" (metaphor)

Though public hangings become a frequent occurrence in the camps, the prisoners all react to one execution of a young child, who looks like “ a sad eyed angel.” It is at this moment that Eliezer positions the child as God himself; when I man asks out loud where God is, Eliezer answers to himself “there, hanging form the gallows.” This moment has some biblical elements to it: in Judaism, followers believe that Christ was not the true son of god, and instead that the messiah is yet to come to save and liberate the Jewish people. When Eliezer suggests that the sad eyed angel is god, he alludes to the fact that perhaps the messiah has been extinguished.

Animals (Similes and Metaphors)

Weisel repeatedly compares prisoners to animals as their humanity is consistently robbed of them. As he states, “ They have become predatory animals: “Wild beasts of prey, with animal hatred in their eyes.” He likens one cry of a prisoner to “the cry of a wounded animal” and frequently suggests that the Nazis do not just control the prisoners, but actually “tame them.” The fact that the prisoners arrive to camps in cattle cars, and that they are herded into both the cars and the barracks like flocks also alludes to their increasing dissent into domesticated animals, who fear their masters with both blind hatred and yet respect out of survival. At one point Weisel describes, “ within a few seconds we ceased to be men.”

"The soup tasted like corpses"(Simile)

One of the most poignant similes that Weisel describes is on the day that the sad eyed angel is executed. That day, he states that “the soup tasted like corpses.” This comparison alludes to the fact that Weisel seems to consume death itself, and that the darkness of his existence has permeated all of his senses, including taste. The comparison also draws attention to the fact that acquiring food can involve death- Weisel recounts one instance in which a man killed his own father for bread, suggesting that life had to be sacrificed in order for food to be acquired.

Silence (Metaphor)

Silence in Night largely serves as a metaphor for the collective and societal silence that allowed for the holocaust to continue for so long. Early on Weisel states, “ Never shall I forget that silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live.” In Weisel’s world of the holocaust, silence conveyed acceptance. One of the early images of a crowd silencing warnings of the evils to come was thin instance in the train car in which Madame Schaechter begins to scream from her premonition that they would all meet a hellish end. For their collective survival, the prisoners silence Madam Schaechter by beating her, conveying that they are also silencing her protests for their future.