Elie Wiesel: Figurative Language

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About this sample


Words: 467 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Words: 467|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 16, 2024

Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate, is renowned for his powerful use of figurative language in his literary works. Through the use of metaphors, similes, and imagery, Wiesel effectively conveys the horrors of the Holocaust and the impact of these experiences on his own life. This essay will examine how Wiesel’s use of figurative language enhances the reader’s understanding of his personal journey and the larger historical context of the Holocaust.

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One of the most prominent examples of figurative language in Wiesel’s writing is his use of metaphors to describe the dehumanizing nature of the Holocaust. In his memoir, Night, Wiesel compares the concentration camps to a “nightmare” that he cannot wake up from. This metaphor not only emphasizes the surreal and unimaginable horror of the Holocaust but also conveys the sense of hopelessness and despair that pervaded Wiesel’s experiences. By using this metaphor, Wiesel allows the reader to empathize with his feelings of confusion and disorientation, as well as the overwhelming sense of darkness that surrounded him during this time.

In addition to metaphors, Wiesel also employs similes to vividly illustrate the brutality of the Holocaust. For example, in Night, Wiesel describes the flames of the crematory as “a gigantic furnace” that devours the bodies of the dead. This simile not only evokes the physical and emotional pain of witnessing such atrocities but also serves as a powerful reminder of the inhumanity of the perpetrators. By comparing the crematory to a furnace, Wiesel emphasizes the mechanical and impersonal nature of the genocide, highlighting the dehumanization of the victims and the callousness of their oppressors.

Furthermore, Wiesel’s use of imagery plays a crucial role in conveying the emotional and psychological impact of the Holocaust on his own identity. In Night, Wiesel describes his reflection in the mirror as “a stranger” whose eyes are “lifeless” and “haunted by death.” This imagery not only reflects Wiesel’s loss of innocence and sense of self but also symbolizes the profound trauma and guilt that he carries with him as a survivor. By depicting himself as a “stranger” to his own reflection, Wiesel underscores the profound psychological dislocation and alienation that he experienced in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

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Elie Wiesel’s use of figurative language in his writing serves as a powerful tool for conveying the emotional and psychological complexities of the Holocaust. Through metaphors, similes, and imagery, Wiesel effectively captures the dehumanizing nature of the genocide, the brutality of the concentration camps, and the lasting impact of these experiences on his own identity. By immersing the reader in a world of darkness, despair, and loss, Wiesel’s figurative language invites us to bear witness to the horrors of the Holocaust and to reflect on the enduring legacy of this tragic chapter in human history.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Elie Wiesel: Figurative Language. (2024, March 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Elie Wiesel: Figurative Language.” GradesFixer, 15 Mar. 2024,
Elie Wiesel: Figurative Language. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Elie Wiesel: Figurative Language [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 15 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
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