Symbolism of Night as Darkness and Evil
Symbolism of Night as Darkness and Evil
Under the shroud of darkness and evil during the long nights in the memoir, Night, by Elie Wiesel, Jewish prisoners are in constant fear of what their next day will bring. The Jewish prisoners band together and talk to one another to hold on to those last remnants of social interactions. Also, the night has a symbolic function too. Night is a dark and evil time when people commit heinous acts of violence. To Elie, protagonist, the night is a never-ending time that brings about constant fear.
When he is finally liberated from the concentration camp, it is not clear whether the night has given way to daylight, which symbolizes hope and restoration of normality. Elie struggles to find the light in order to restore a normal life. His experience of night can be interpreted literally and figuratively throughout the novel. As the first night actually approaches for Elie Wiesel, the sun sets which brings about literal darkness. Jewish families are being herded by the Gestapo to bring to concentration camps.
Elie sees the heinous acts committed by the Nazis throughout the long nights in the concentration camps, train rides, and in he ghetto. As the nights seem longer and the days appear shorter, Elie’s perspective for time is gone. “So much has happened within such a few hours that I had lost all sense of time. When had we left our houses? And the ghetto? And the train? Was it only a week? One night- one single night” (34). The night shows how something so prevalent in life has the capability to take away so much from people and inflict fear.
The night had drained everyone’s sense of hope to live another day as they watched strangers, friends, and family be killed by the ruthless Nazi’s. As Elie’s journey towards finding rescue continues, the nights pass and slowly consume his life and everyone else with gloom and despair. “Listen to me, kid. Don’t forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is every man for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even your father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend.
Each of us lives and dies alone. ” (110). People have already given up all hope of rescue. The darkness has consumed everyone and planted a seed of despair that everyone accepts. These acts of violence shown by the Nazi’s should never be forgotten even if the darkness consumes every soul. Elie preaches that he would never forget the any of the memories he witnessed during his time at the concentration camp saying, “Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself.
Never” (32). Even if the soul of someone has been engulfed by the darkness everything that has been said and done will remain without being unnoticed. This symbolism shows how even though night literally shows the loss of hope, the night figuratively reveals much more than the truth. The literal night shows how figuratively all the events that Elie experienced in the concentration camp evolved into one big night that he could never escape while he was held captive.
Even during Elie’s adulthood, Elie never forgets any of his experiences during adolescents saying, “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…”(32). Even though the blue sky was gone, the sky still had a dark blanket over it that seems to suffocate everyone under it.
This shows how no one could ever feel safe or relieved even when it was daytime and here was blue skies. The cruel Nazi’s take everything away from Elie. The night makes Elie lose all hope of having his family back, which crushes his sense of religion. “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” (32). The darkness of losing everyone that was once close to him really turns Elie inside out.
When this feeling occurs, people usually turn to suicide or accepting death. Night symbolizes fear, evil, and darkness in the eyes of Elie. In conclusion, the memoir brings a symbolic meaning to the night that offers varying emotions from the narrator. Ellie must endure the horrific, never ending night to survive, even after he escapes from the concentration camp. Although imagining all the pain that Elie faced while in captivity is extremely difficult, his descriptions and symbolism of the night gives the reader a glimpse into his life that turned into one long, dark night.