Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Night

Thanks to Heather Conley - I have never wanted to read this book, but I believe I will go get it now.

Wiesel, E. (1987) Night.  New York:  Bantam.

Night is a very touching and true story of one teenager's experience during the Holocaust.  Elie was a young boy when his family was forced to leave their home in Transylvania and become prisoners in Auschwitz.  Wiesel was silent about his experience for ten years before he was able to put the tragedy in writing.  It is no wonder that due to the book, Wiesel has so many awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize.

Night is an excellent book for male and teen readers. Even through his horrific experience, Wiesel must go through many of the trials and challenges that many teenagers today go through.  Night is a great book for teaching internal conflict; Wiesel struggles throughout with his own feelings about God and his father.  The relationship between Wiesel and his father is easily tracked with many events that teenagers can relate to with their own parents.

Although Night is a piece of nonfiction, it contains many literary devices as well.  The imagery is astounding when Wiesel sees his mother and younger sister for the last time.  He describes the coat that his sister is wearing in a way that the audience visualizes it along with him.  Wiesel also uses several analogies, comparing the prisoners to walking corpses.

This book is definitely meant for middle/high schoolers due to the content and themes.  It is completely heartbreaking, but in the end, students tend to list Night as one of their favorite required readings.  It's very difficult to read and not feel emotionally connected to Elie Weisel.  This is a book that I have taught in class.  Not only does it have literary merit, but it is a book that truly speaks to the students.

Questions the readers may ask:  Could I be as strong as Elie if I had to go through the Holocaust?  What would I do if my parent and I were in the same situation?

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