Ewrt 1 c class 41


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Ewrt 1 c class 41

  1. 1. GRAVITY
  2. 2.  Themes  Literary Style  Tensions  Theoretical Approaches
  3. 3.  Night is a short piece of fiction born of the author's eight hundred-page memoir of his time in the Nazi death camps.  The story is told from the first person point of view. Not only does the narration not enter other characters’ minds, there is little effort to explain what is going on in the narrator’s mind.  The reader's conclusions are meant to be independent and based on events and behavior; however, readers are clearly led toward a loathing of the camps.
  4. 4.  Night is full of scriptural allusions, or hints of reference to biblical passages. One example of allusion is the execution of the three prisoners, one of whom is an innocent child, a pipel.This scene recalls the moment in the Christian Gospel when Christ is crucified in the company of two thieves.
  5. 5.  The traditional German bildungsroman is the story of a young, naive man entering the world to seek adventure. He finds his adventure that provides him with an important lesson.The resolution finds him mature and ready for a productive life.  Wiesel's novella turns this tradition upside down. He presents an educated, young man forced into a man- made hell.There he learns more than he asks for.The result is not that he will think about being a productive worker, but about healing humanity.
  6. 6. Themes Tensions Theoretical Approaches
  7. 7.  Death  "Someone began to recite the Khaddish, the prayer for the dead. I do not know if it has ever happened before, in the long history of the Jews, that people have ever recited the prayer for the dead for themselves."  God and Religion  Hasidism teaches belief in a personal relationship with God. One ofWiesel's favorite prayers may serve as a summary: "Master of the Universe, know that the children of Israel are suffering too much; they deserve redemption, they need it. But if, for reasons unknown to me,You are not willing, not yet, then redeem all the other nations, but do it soon!”  Sanity and Insanity  There are many examples of madness exhibited during the novel.Two in particular stand out as representing the greater insanity of the Holocaust.The first is the hysterical Madame Schachter and the second is Idek's enthusiasm for work—being more than a simply mockery of the motto "Work is liberty!"
  8. 8. External tensions:  Between Jews and their Nazi oppressors  Between Jews and the harsh winter climate  Among Jews about how to respond to brutality and terror Internal tensions:  In the narrator’s mind about his response to the dehumanization at the hands of the Nazis  His loss of religious faith  How he should behave toward his father.
  9. 9.  In two ofWiesel's later novels, TheTestament and The Fifth Son, the author explores the effects of the Holocaust on the next generation of Jews.Critics, notably Globe and Mail contributor Bronwyn Drainie, have questioned the validity of the author's belief that children of Holocaust survivors would be "as morally galvanized by the Nazi nightmare as the survivors themselves." Richard F. Shepard asserted in the New YorkTimes that even if the feelings of these children cannot be generalized, "the author does make all of us 'children' of that generation, all of us who were not there, in the sense that he outlines for us the burdens of guilt, of revenge, of despair."
  10. 10.  Wiesel writes, "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never."
  11. 11.  Eliezer wonders if he has changed for the worst when a guard struck his father in the face. An innocent question to use the restroom, the father of Eliezer is slapped “with such force that he fell down and then crawled back to his place on all fours.” Eliezer stood in shock as his father endured the pain. He stood petrified, wondering what had happened to him since he could not confront the officer. He notes, if this occurred a day earlier, he would have “dug his nails into this criminal’s flesh.” But all he could think of was the change he had experienced in such little time. The idea alluded by the narrator is similar to the events that occur in the beginning of the story. He witnesses the German soldiers suddenly tear family’s apart before being transported with his family to new ghettos and the beating of the woman screaming “fire,” which could all be new to him. So it would seem that the change Eliezer experiences is caused by events he witnessed before being a prisoner, and the horrific things he witnessed once inside.
  12. 12.  “Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because He kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? How could I say to Him: Blessed beThou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch our fathers, our mothers, our brothers end up in the furnaces? Praised beThy Holy Name, for having chosen us to be slaughtered onThine altar…man is stronger, greater than God” (67).  Typically, God is the accuser and accuses others of sins such as when he accused Adam and Eve for betraying God and punished them. However, now Elizier is in the position of God as the accuser and accuses God for betraying his creations.
  13. 13.  I decided to choose the passage when Eliezer makes the decision not to fast since he is already starving. [. . .]During such hard times, Eliezer begins to question his faith in God. “I did not fast. First of all, to please my father who had forbidden me to do so.” We realize that Eliezer’s father told Eliezer not to fast. “As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion, of protest against Him. And I nibbled on my crust of bread. Deep inside me, I felt a great void opening.”Those that had faith in God believed that they would be protected by Him. Eliezer, on the other hand, questioned God’s divine plan as God would not let his people die for no reason.The irony exists as Eliezer eats, he feels a void opening inside of him. Either he feels bad for abandoning God or he feels that because he gave up on God, he is able to worry about his own safety. Because Eliezer and his father gave up on their God, they were only able to depend on each other. I feel that it helped them survive the torture of concentration camps since they were able to depend on something physical rather than the abstract idea of faith in God.
  14. 14.  Eliezer focuses primarily on the different ways that all the prisoners of the camp treat one another. Because he takes such great notice in the broken nature of humankind by the way that people within the camp treat one another, he is traumatized, and holds onto his father a greater deal than most would. He even risks death himself when he goes against the authority figures within the camps to ensure that his father would not have to die a premature death. In a way, his desperation to be with his father reflects the struggle to hold onto the faith that God is still with him. He relies on his father for so much, when in reality his father can do so little for him, and also seeks his guidance, counseling, and encouragement. His father is the extension of what it means for him to be a human and feel like a human, and his fear of abandoning the love he has for his father seems to reflect the fear he has towards losing his humanity.
  15. 15.  “ It was pitch dark. I could hear only the violin, and it was as though Juliek’s soul were the bow. He was playing his life.The whole of his life was gliding on the strings-his lost hopes, his charred past his extinguished future. He played as he would never play again.” Besides being an incredibly moving vignette, a brief redemptive flash in a landscape of hopelessness and terror, Juliek’s elegiac performance demonstrates how human beings instinctively gravitate towards art as an attempt to combat the insidious effects of trauma.  The experience of creating art offers a hedonic counterpoint to the otherwise often hellish experience of being in a body that has been physically and/or psychologically assaulted and violated; I’d like to speculate that the need for dissociation diminishes as the body experiences neutral and even pleasurable reset points from which to re-experience itself again.
  16. 16.  Eliezer’s first attraction to death comes on the first day at Auschwitz: “[…] then I don’t want to wait. I’ll run into the electrified barbed wire.That would be easier than a slow death in the flames” (33)  Eliezer’s next death fascination comes during the “death march.” He says, “the idea of dying, of ceasing to be, [begin] to fascinate me” because he no longer has to go on living his current painful life. However, his father’s presence keeps him from falling apart: “I [have] no right to let myself die.What would he do without me? I [am] his sole support” (86-87).  “All around me, what [appears] to be a dance of death. […] One [dies] because one [has] to” (89).  Nevertheless, Eliezer overcomes death drive and even urges his father not to fall asleep (90). In fact, the role reverses as his father grows weak. Eliezer practically revives his father when he is about to be rid from the train as a corpse (99).When his father sits down in the snow begging his son to let his life drain out of him as it may, Eliezer becomes furious, pointing to the corpses: “They’re dead!They will never wake up! Never! Do you understand?” (105). Here again, Eliezer’s perception of death is unsettled by the need to live his life for both of them.
  17. 17.  A few days after my visit, the dentist’s office was shut down. He had been thrown into prison and was about to be hanged. It appeared that he had been dealing in the prisoners’ gold teeth for his own benefit. I felt no pity for him. In fact, I was pleased with what was happening to him: my gold crown was safe. It could be useful to me one day, to buy something, some bread or even time to live. At that moment in time, all that mattered to me was my daily bowl of soup, my crust of stale bread.The bread, the soup—those were my entire life. I was nothing but a body. Perhaps even less: a famished stomach. The stomach alone was measuring time  Empathy is considered on of the most valuable traits humans have when we work in groups. It allows us to connect with other people’s priorities and understand their methods of working, their psyches. In the above passage, Eli’s ability to connect with people, including himself, has been demonstrated to be fundamentally damaged.
  18. 18.  Q: How is genocide of this magnitude possible?  Q:What is a product of the intergenerational trauma of the Holocaust?
  19. 19.  Finish Outer Dark  Post #29: Choose One  Outer Dark carries a heavy load of symbolism. Its characters and their actions seem burdened with meanings beyond the simple story and action.What does Rinthy represent?What does Culla represent?  QHQ Outer Dark