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AP Language August 31, 2017
Night Elie Wiesel
Respond to one of the following: • What might Elie Wiesel’s goals have been in writing Night, and how well does he accomplish his goals? • What do we as readers gain from reading a book like Night? How do we gain it? (How is it accomplished? How does Wiesel help us accomplish it? )
Standards and Objectives 11 -12. RL. KID. 2 Determine multiple themes or central ideas of a text or texts and analyze their development; provide a critical summary. 11 -12. L. CSE. 2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing; when reading and writing, use knowledge of punctuation to enhance sentence style to support the content of the sentence; write and edit work so that it conforms to a style guide appropriate for the discipline and writing type. 11 -12. W. PDW. 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. • I can and I will… • Identify and analyze themes/central ideas in a text • Show command of standard English usage, such as capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. • Maintain a consistent style • Write clearly and coherently with structure and purpose.
Moments • Quickly write 5 moments from the book • Give as much information as possible • Some literary techniques may include plot, characterization, symbolism, simile
Moments • • • Share with a friend Add any extra moments Share with another friend Add any other moments You should have 9 or 10 moments
Elie Wiesel, Night • The original title Elie Wiesel gave the novel was And the World Has Remained Silent. • Wiesel wrote this book after ten years of silence. • By the end of the Holocaust, over six million Jews had been killed.
Themes/Motifs • There are five motifs to look for while reading Night: – Night – pay attention to what happens at night and what that might symbolize. What does Night symbolize? . – Bearing Witness – Pay attention to which characters are witnesses and to what they bear witness.
Themes/Motifs – Father-Son Relationships – Pay attention to how Elie and his father’s relationship develops; in addition, notice other fatherson relationships in the book. – Loss of faith – Notice how Elie’s faith in God changes as the book progresses.
Themes/Motifs – Voice vs. Silence – Who has a voice and who chooses to remain silent? Why might Elie Wiesel title his novel what he did originally, and why did he no longer remain silent?
In Consideration… • In Poland, 90% of the approximately 3, 000 Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. • Wiesel mentions the people in surrounding towns ---why? • Several groups contributed to the Holocaust-- persecutors and by-standers • Why are by-standers just as important as the persecutors?
Prewar Group portrait of members of the Jewish community of Sighet in front of a wooden synagogue. 1930 -1939.
The Government… • In a totalitarian state, paranoia and fear dominate. • The government maintains total control over the culture. • The government is capable of indiscriminate killing. • During this time in Germany, the Nazis passed laws which restricted the rights of Jews: including the Nuremberg Laws.
Totalitarian State Effects… Jews, like all other German citizens, were required to carry identity cards, but their cards were stamped with a red “J. ” This allowed police to easily identify them.
The Nazi Plan The Nazi plan for dealing with the “Jewish Question” evolved in three steps: 1. Expulsion: Get them out of Germany 2. Containment: Put them all together in one place – namely ghettos 3. “Final Solution”: annihilation
In the Ghetto • Life in the ghettos was hard: food was rationed; several families often shared a small space; disease spread rapidly; heating, ventilation, and sanitation were limited. • Many children were orphaned in the ghettos.
Returning to the Hierarchy of Needs
Final Solution • Death camps were the means the Nazis used to achieve the “final solution. ” • There were six death camps: Auschwitz. Birkenau, Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor, Majdanek, and Belzec. • Each used gas chambers to murder the Jews. At Auschwitz prisoners were told the gas chambers were “showers. ”
Final Solution • Most of the gas chambers used carbon monoxide from diesel engines. • In Auschwitz and Majdanek “Zyklon B” pellets, which were a highly poisonous insecticide, supplied the gas. • After the gassings, prisoners removed hair, gold teeth and fillings from the Jews before the bodies were burned in the crematoria or buried in mass graves.
. • . . . Former prisoners of the "little camp" in Buchenwald stare out from the wooden bunks in which they slept three to a "bed. " Elie Wiesel is pictured in the second row of bunks, seventh from the left, next to the vertical beam.
Resources of Language • Anaphora • Repetition of the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses, sentences, or lines.
Resources of Language • Parallel Language • Figurative Language – Simile – Metaphor
Resources of Language • Asyndeton • The omission of conjunctions between clauses, often resulting in a hurried rhythm or vehement effect. • We came, we saw, we conquered.
A Note • A Polysyndeton is…
Discussion • Early in the narrative, Moishe tells Eliezer, “Man asks and God replies. But we don’t understand His replies. We cannot understand them” (p. 5). • Is this a paradox? • How does Eliezer react to this seemingly unfair assertion? • Apply Moishe’s statement to the ongoing crisis of faith that Eliezer faces throughout the course of Night.
Discussion • “And then, one day all foreign Jews were expelled from Sighet, ” writes Wiesel, quite bluntly. “And Moishe the Beadle was a foreigner” (p. 6). Why do you suppose this shocking information is delivered so matter-of-factly? • What is the point of Wiesel’s abruptness? • Also, consider the manner in which Moishe is treated by the Jews of Sighet after he has escaped the Gestapo’s capture. Are the people happy to see him? – Is he himself even happy to be alive? – Explain why Moishe has returned to the village. Why don’t the Jewish townspeople believe the horrible news he brings back to them?
Discussion • Not long after arriving at Birkenau, Eliezer and his father experience the horrors of the crematory firsthand—and are nearly killed themselves. “Babies!” Wiesel bwrites. “Yes, I did see this, with my own eyes. . . children thrown into the flames” • (p. 32). Look back on Eliezer’s physical, mental, and emotional reactions to this hellish and inexplicable experience. • How does the story of Night change at this point? • How does Wiesel himself change?
Discussion • Cassandra was a figure in Greek mythology who received the gift of prophecy with the simultaneous curse that no one would ever believe her. • Compare Cassandra to Mrs. Schächter. Are there other Cassandras in Night? Who are they?
Discussion • Consider the inscription that appears above the entrance to Auschwitz. • What is it supposed to mean? • What meaning, if any, does this slogan come to have for Eliezer?
Discussion • Reflecting on the three weeks he spent at Auschwitz, Wiesel admits on p. 45: “Some of the men spoke of God: His mysterious ways, the sins of the Jewish people, and the redemption to come. As for me, I had ceased to pray. I concurred with Job!” • What happens to the man called Job in the Bible? What is his story? • Explain why Eliezer feels connected to him.
Discussion • On p. 65, Eliezer witnesses one of the several public hangings he sees in Buna. • “For God’s sake, where is God? ” asks a prisoner who also sees the hanging. “Where He is? ” answers Eliezer, though talking only to himself. “This is where—hanging here from this gallows. . . ” • What does he mean by this? How could God have been hanged? How have Eliezer’s thoughts and feelings changed since he identified with Job while in Auschwitz ? • Discuss the relationship that Wiesel has with God throughout Night.
Discussion • As the story progresses, we witness scenes in which the Jews have been reduced to acting—and even treating their fellow prisoners—like rabid animals. During an air raid over Buna (see p. 59), a starved man risks being shot by crawling out to a cauldron of soup that stands in the middle of the camp, only to thrust his face into the boiling liquid once he has arrived there safely. • Where else do we see examples of human beings committing such insane acts? • What leads people to such horrific behavior? Is it fair to say that such beastliness in the death camps is inevitable? • Do Eliezer and his father fall prey to such tragedies?
Discussion • In the concluding pages of Night, Eliezer’s father is dying a slow, painful death in Buchenwald. But Eliezer is there to comfort him, or at least to try. • Does Eliezer see his father as a burden by this point, or does he feel only pity and sorrow for him? • Compare and contrast the father-son relationship you see at the end of this memoir with the one you saw at the beginning.
Discussion • Look again at the opening pages of Night. When it begins, twelve-year-old Eliezer lives in the Transylvanian village of Sighet with his parents and sisters. • How does being introduced to such people alter your understanding of the fact that, a half century ago, six million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust? How is this sickening truth achieved through Night’s dual purposes of memoir and history? • • If this is a story of one person’s journey as well as a history of one horrendous part of World War II, how do the plot and theme of the book overlap? • • How does the author blend the personal and the universal aspects of Night? In what ways does Wiesel relate not only his own nightmarish memory of the Holocaust but also humanity’s?
Never Shall I … • Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith for ever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.
Wiesel’s Words "The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference. "
Wiesel’s Words • "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. "
Wiesel’s Words • "I've been fighting my entire adult life for men and women everywhere to be equal and to be different. But there is one right I would not grant anyone. And that is the right to be indifferent. "
Wiesel’s Words • "I swore to never be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides, neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim, silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. "
Wiesel’s Words • "Think higher, feel deeper. "
Weisel’s Words • "Peace is our gift to each other. "
Wiesel’s Words • Quote: The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person. The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames. . . A dark flame had entered my soul and devoured it. • Analysis: Wiesel uses parallel structure--the like grammatical structure of adjacent phrases or clauses that signify equality of importance--to draw attention to the two things which died: his faith and his childhood.
Wiesel on Writing • Writing is not like painting where you add. It is not what you put on the canvas that the reader sees. Writing is more like a sculpture where you remove, you eliminate in order to make the work visible.
Visiting the Camps… • “You spoke of humanity, Mr. President. Though unto us, in those times, it was human to be inhuman. And now the world has learned, I hope. And of course this hope includes so many of what now would be your vision for the future, Mr. President. A sense of security for Israel, a sense of security for its neighbors, to bring peace in that place. The time must come. It's enough -- enough to go to cemeteries, enough to weep for oceans. It's enough. There must come a moment -- a moment of bringing people together. ”
Discussion • Additional Comments…