The book is a memoir about the life of Elie Wiesel as he fights his way through World War II as a Jew. Even in the year 1943, Elie and his mother, father, and three sisters, were living a normal life in their small town of Sighet, Transylvania. Their peaceful lives were quickly interrupted by the invasion of German troops into their town. They were stripped of everything including gold, jewelry, ability to travel, and times when they could leave their houses. Their first major move was into the large ghetto and then consequently the small ghetto. Besides the German soldiers' harsh actions, the Jews failed to see the terrible actuality of the situation at hand until they were shipped in groups of eighty in cattle wagons to the reception center of Birkenau. In a single moment, Elie was separated from his mother and left to fend for his life with his father, unaware of where they would be heading. Elie and his father, Schlomo, fought through devastating conditions in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Buna, Gleiwitz, and Buchenwald watching, but no longer feeling the pain of the millions of Jews dying around them. He works in a warehouse, gets whipped, witnesses hangings, and suffers through a 10 day long train ride with no food and water, along with many other events throughout his time in the camps. Elie and his father, 2 of the only 12 survivors, prevail despite their rough road the entire way to Buchenwald, narrowly missing selections and almost dying in the freezing snow. Devastatingly though, Elie's father becomes ill with dysentery and ends up dying not too long before the Jews are liberated. Elie doesn't speak of his life after his father died, almost as if it didn't matter to him anymore. The Jews were finally liberated by the Americans on April 11, and immediately pounced on the rations before them, finally free men again.


*Elie- As the main character of Night, Elie begins as a very spiritual boy interested in Jewish Mysticism until his life is upended by the Germans. After suffering through the various concentration camps and getting everything stripped of him, Elie becomes a new man who no longer has his family, faith, or humanity to carry him through the rest of his life.

*Shlomo- As Elie's father, Schlomo travels through the camps with his son and struggles right along beside him. Though he once was a highly respected man, the tables turn and he is the one being taken care of by his son. Schlomo ultimately dies on January 29, 1945.

*Moishe the Beadle- Though he was utterly poor, he was respected in Sighet until he was shipped away on cattle wagons by the Germans. Upon his return he pleaded to the Jews, warning them of the dangers, but was only thought of as a madman.

*Stein of Antwerp- Stein summons Elie, his relative, and asks him if he has heard from his family. Elie lies to protect Stein, but his plan backfires when Stein of Antwerp doesn't find his family on the transport. Elie never sees him again.

*Rabi Eliahou- He's a kind man who stood by his son's side throughout their travels and was searching for him with Elie after they had become separated. What he doesn't know is that his son abandoned him.

*Rabi Eliahou's son- On the march to Gleiwitz, when his father begins to tire, he continues to run ahead full speed, not caring that the distance between him and his father has greatly lengthened, purposely abandoning his father.


Overall I really enjoyed the book and couldn't seem to put it down, finishing it within the first week. It was interesting to get a view of the life of a real person going through the seemingly surreal predicament of World War II. I particularly enjoy learning about that period of time and was intrigued to see such a clear depiction of a life in it. I don't think that there was anything I didn't like about the book because it was put together very well. Overall I rate it a 10/10.

What can we learn from reading this book?

We can learn that in times of desperation people will lose sight of the things that were once most important to them. Elie becomes almost like a puppet controlled by the Germans as he travels through the camps, empty inside. Because all Elie and his father could think of in their time of desperation was food and water, key relationships were broken both between Elie and God, Elie and his father, and even Elie and himself. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid really comes into play because it shows the basics that one needs to live and a strong relationship is not one of those things. Throughout the days at the concentration camps people did many desperate things to get food, one of the necessary things to live, at the bottom of his pyramid. From a man crawling over to the cauldron of soup during the air raid, to father and sons alike killing each other on the train over the piecs of bread being thrown to them.

Night also teaches us, to open our eyes to the persecution, opression, and discrimination that occurs in our world, not only during World War II, but also today. When Elie takes you on the trip through his painful life, readers become more aware of what this persecution feels like, though no one can have a complete idea unless they have actually been through it. Night opens our eyes, ears, and minds to become more aware of the persecution throughout the world now.

Essential Questions:

What are the root causes of persecution?

The single root cause of the majority of persecution is hate. Though many feelings and emotions may generate it, they all eventually lead up to a hate so powerful, that it can torture, afflict, and even kill. When people have differences between each other such as ethnic group, race, religion, or even appearance a hatred is sometimes developed. Hitler developed a hatred for the Jews because they were different, and believed that getting rid of them would create an all perfect world. Similarly in Burma, the government is trying to get rid of the different ethnic minorities in their country by killing or "burmanizing" them so that they become the same as them. People in general automatically think that their culture or religion (etc) is right and the opposing one is wrong, yet both sides think that way. This creates tension and hatred. When acted upon, especially with a powerful leader such as Hitler, this hatred can develop into an evil so great that it can nearly wipe out an entire people.

What are some current examples of persecution that take place in today's world?

People across the world are continued to be persecuted today, yet many people are not informed and completely unaware. Woman especially in middle eastern countries are completely taken advantage of. They do not have the same priveledges as men as they don't own property, can't attend schools, and must cover their faces and full bodies in some countries. In China, baby girls are killed daily and in India wives are killed by the hour just so that their husbands can remarry. In Eastern Burma, villages are being burnt down and innocent citizens killed by the government to discourage and drive away ethnic minorities. Woman are raped as a process called "burmanization" so that those who are not burmanese can create children that are so that they do not have to go through the terrible conditions. Other groups are rising in other countries with violent attacks that normally end up killing the innocent ones that have nothing to do with the root causes of their anger.

What does Night teach us about what it means to be human?

Night teaches us that when it comes down to life and death, like the position Elie and his father were in, the necessities are all that the individual worries about. They forget and lose sight of some things that they may have previously valued such as friendship, family, and morality and only worry about what could potentially cause their demise. This concept is easily portrayed through Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid. He created this simple pyramid that shows where certain things fall on human importance and necessities. Things such as food, oxygen, and water are placed at the bottom, and that is all Elie and his father worried about at certain times of the book. This necessity is clearly illustrated when the people on the train were acting like savage beasts killing one another, even their own family just for the food that was being tossed into their box car. At times of desperation, people forget about morality, higher up on the pyramid, and just focus on their few necessities.

Reflections on Essay

What did I learn from this writing assignment?

I learned how to integrate quotes effectively so that the reader understands what point in the book the quote occurred and has the background information to better understand the purpose of the quote. If the reader is unaware of the situation, it is more difficult for them to acknowledge and understand the point you are trying to make and can easily become confused. I also learned

What did I do well in this unit?

I wrote a decent generic introduction that followed the guidlines and adapted to the story. I also used strong supports and examples for the points I was making. When I relayed a point to the reader, I made sure that I had a significant amount of factual information to back it up, along with my personal opinions.

What areas could I improve?

In many areas of my essay, I would make a good point, but it would be completely off topic for the section of the essay I had put it in. I need to improve the focus of my paragraphs so that my purpose is clear and concise and the reader can tell what I am trying to say with ease. I also could have improved my ending because it may have seemed to end abruptly, but not with finality. I should re-state my point better so that the reader leaves getting what they should have out of the essay.