What Did Wiesel Compare The World To?

Updated 30 September, 2024
Elie Wiesel compared the world to ''a hermetically sealed cattle car.'' The reference is made to the cattle car which is crammed with Jews on their way to concentration camps.
Detailed answer:

Elie Wiesel, in his book Night, described his experience when he was liberated from Buchenwald as a sixteen-year-old. His mother and his youngest sister had already been sent to the gas chambers, and Wiesel became his father’s caregiver at the concentration camp and watched him die, just weeks before the Allies liberated the camp.
Wiesel refers frequently to the "world" in the story to emphasize the universal importance of his experience. In Night Eli Wiesel compares the world to a specific type of train car used to hold cows or other farm animals. The author states, “The doors were closed. We were caught in a trap, right up to our necks. The doors were nailed up; the way back was finally cut off. The world was a cattle wagon hermetically sealed. With every groan of the wheels on the rail, we felt that an abyss was about to open beneath our bodies.” To the Jews in the cattle car, the world was no bigger than the small transportation vehicle they were locked in. The cattle car was so crowded there was no room to sit or lie down, room was made for the living by throwing the dead onto the tracks. Out of 100 Jews in Wiesel’s cattle car, only twelve survived.

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