Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel

I love to read fiction novels, because I love the way that writers can use their imagination to write stories that speak to a reader's heart. Very few writers' imaginations are as great as Toni Morrison's, Stephen King, Tananarive Due, Octavia Butler and on, and on, and on.

However, Night, by Elie Wiesel, is about Elie's experience of being a young boy during the Jewish Holocaust. Reading his story is like reading a suspenseful fictional novel; he draws the reader in with the many descriptive details such as babies being used as shooting targets, people being so hungry until they eat the snow off of each others' backs, and children having to decide between saving their lives or trying to save the life of a parent.

I have taught this novel for at least the last seven or eight years, and it has never cease to move me to want to continue "The Good Fight of Faith." Elie, and many other men, women, and children, during the Holocaust, went through so many horrific incidents that would break the strongest amongst us, but some kind of way, many people who thought they could not and would not make, made it, and live to tell the story that must be told over and over to remind us of how evil WE can be, and how strong we are.

Reading this story, I thought a lot about Hitler, but I really thought a lot about all of the nameless people who helped him to completely destroy about 11 million people. The SS officers and Gesatpo were people who had families and normal lives but helped Hitler to devise and implement a plan that I hope is never, ever repeated.

It is amazing to me that people can be so awful to each other. Not sure why I am still amazed when I see stories of child abuse, rape, and random killings on a daily basis. Not sure why I like to think about the horrible things that I see on the News as something different from what happen during the Holocaust; however, both are examples of horrible things being done to people by people who walk, talk, and look just like me and you.

Everytime that I finish reading Night with my students, they say "This is so sad." I have to remind them that not all stories are happy, but there is something to be learned from every story, even the sad ones.

Readers, this book is fairly short, but the content is heavy. Read it and grow, and let's do our part to make sure that history does not repeat itself in any shape or form.


ArchivedProfile said...

Afer reading this book, I could not even look at a picture of this man without crying. I recently met a survivor. Margot Friedlander. She had a book launch event in DC. She read from her book for quite a while. For months after that event, I could hear her voice. Meeting her was surely one of the most memorable things I've experienced.

Jacqueline said...

I've taught this one for years, and the students' reaction to it makes it soooo worth teaching.

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