Themes of Dehumanization and Despondency in Night

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Words: 1108 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 1108|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Night is a story by Elie Wiesel that details his life inside the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. In Night, the themes about disconnect from religion/faith, the thought of constant hopelessness, family, the will to survive, death and distraught, loss of ego, and the cruelty that goes on within the concentration camps are evident throughout the novel. The constant dehumanization and despondency that plagues the theme of this novel is evident.

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Throughout the novel, Elie mentions his separation from his family and how his father is always watching over him (later in the book that changes). In the beginning of the novel, Elie was constantly on a tightrope when it came to his family but that all changed when they got to Auschwitz. When Elie got to Auschwitz he heard an officer yell, ‘‘Men to the left! Women to the right!” he then proceeds to contemplate, “Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight simple short words. Yet that was the moment when I left my mother. There was no time to think, and I already felt my father’s hand press against mine: we were alone. In a fraction of a second I could see my mother, my sisters, move to the right. Tzipora was holding Mother’s hand. I saw them walking farther and farther away; Mother was stroking my sister’s blond hair, as if to protect her. And I walked on with my father, with the men. I didn’t know that this was the moment in time and the place where I was leaving my mother and Tzipora forever. I kept walking, my father holding my hand”. This shows that Elie knew what their fate was when he saw Mother and Tzipora go towards the right. This is also when that tightrope he had between his family breaks, he wasn’t even optimistic about what was to come for his Mother and Tzipora. Further into the Memoir, Elie sees how the sons abandoned their fathers (something Elie fears doing). “We started to march once more. The dead remained in the yard, under the snow without even a marker, like fallen guards. No one recited Kaddish over them. Sons abandoned the remains of their fathers without a tear.” (pg. 92) This shows the state of welfare between families in these camps, a welfare that sons must let go of in order to survive. This is a concept Elie realizes later in the book as his father's health worsens.

Throughout the novel, Elie’s faith begins to take a turn for the worse. He went from being a strong believer in god to a blasphemous. Throughout his faze of blasphemy he shows the reader god has abandoned his people, leaving them to suffer. Questioning gods existence while questioning god’s presence. This is evident when he says, “Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. ..For more than half an hour [the child in the noose] stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed.Behind me, I heard the same man asking:“Where is God now?”And I heard a voice within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He is — He is hanging here on this gallows. . . .”. This shows Elie questioning the presence god and if the god he is worshipping is even legitimate. Questioning why a god would even allow this to happen. After Elie's’ faith is no more and he becomes a complete blasphemous he becomes sarcastic/sardonic. 'I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people.” This shows that Elie felt that he and his people have been betrayed by God and god hasn’t done anything for his people. On the other hand, Hitler has actually kept his promises (specifically on exterminating the jews) and has been good on his word while god never kept his promises.

As the story progressed from the beginning to the end Elie had seen a lot of cruelty and violence throughout the camps. When Elie first got to the camp he had instantly witnessed his first case of cruelty. The cruelty and acts of violence ended up becoming a regular for him and the rest of the prisoners. It came to a point where they no longer became shocked at what they saw. “I pinched myself, Was I still alive? Was I awake? How was it possible that men, women, and children were being burned and that the world kept silent? No. All this would not be real.” Eliot experienced the burning of children and the true intentions of the camps. This was no safe haven for them, this was a place where they go to die. He was in such shock he didn’t want to believe what he had seen. Completely dehumanizing them and using cruel tactics to embed fear into them. “The SS made us increase our pace. ‘Faster, you tramps, you flea-ridden dogs!’ Why not? Moving fast made us a little warmer. The blood flowed more readily in our veins. We had the feeling of being alive... ‘Faster, you filthy dogs!’ We were no longer marching, we were running. Like automatons. The SS were running as well, weapons in hand. We looked as though we were running from them. The night was pitch-black. From time to time, a shot exploded in the darkness. They had orders to shoot anyone who could not sustain that pace. Their fingers on the triggers, they did not deprive themselves of the pleasure. If one of us stopped for a second, a quick shot eliminated the filthy dog”. This is a prime example of how SS guards did not care about the life of the Jews. They saw them as animals and had no problem putting them down as if they were a sick dog. The guards didn’t see their actions as cruel, rather a civic duty that must be enacted.

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In conclusion, the constant depressing state of this novel was a foreshadow throughout the whole book. Showing that there will be no happy ending and the true nature of the holocaust. Even through the mist there was always another obstacle in the way. Nothing and no one was safe, not even their faith was safe. Your faith and way of life will always be tested, are you strong enough to withstand these challenges in order to maintain your faith and well-being or will you give up?          

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Themes Of Dehumanization And Despondency In Night. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from
“Themes Of Dehumanization And Despondency In Night.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Themes Of Dehumanization And Despondency In Night. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Dec. 2023].
Themes Of Dehumanization And Despondency In Night [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2023 Dec 1]. Available from:
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