Night by Elie Wiesel

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Author: Elie Wiesel

ISBN: 978-0-374-50001-6

Publication Date: 1958

Genre: (Adult) Historical fiction

Reading Level/Interest Age: 15 and up

Plot: Elie Wiesel’s story is told through the protagonist Eliezer, an Orthodox Jewish teenager living in Sighet, Transylvania during World War II. Eliezer endures many harsh trials beginning at the ghettos in his hometown to the Aushwitz to the liberation at Buchenwald. These challenges that lie ahead will test his faith in God and in the human race.

Critical Evaluation: Wiesel writes an incredibly intense story of life in the Jewish concentration camps. His writings illuminate the obvious theme in this story which is faith. This recurring theme is shown in many tragic and horrific instances such as the sight of a young boy being hung at the gallows but his neck is unable to break because he weighs too little and is left on that noose for days before he finally rests. Eliezer realizes that he must be the adult to take care of his father who has become weak and sick. As the increasing struggle to keep him father alive continues, he finally could not force himself to help from getting beaten by the other inmates. Feeling Godless, he had no remorse or tears for his father’s death, but only feeling free from the heavy weight of his father.

Reader’s Annotation: Eliezer will be going on an incredibly hard journey where his faith in God and in humanity will be tested.

Author: Retrieved from The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity website

After the war, Elie Wiesel studied in Paris and later became a journalist. During an interview with the distinguished French writer, Francois Mauriac, he was persuaded to write about his experiences in the death camps. The result was his internationally acclaimed memoir, Night (La Nuit), which has since been translated into more than thirty languages.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed Elie Wiesel as Chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust. In 1980, he became the Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is President of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, an organization he and his wife created to fight indifference, intolerance and injustice. Elie Wiesel has received more than 100 honorary degrees from institutions of higher learning.

Curriculum Ties:

  • History
  • Multiculturalism
  • Religion

Booktalking Ideas:

  • What would you do to keep your faith in God?

Challenging Issues:

  • Graphic content
  • Religious viewpoints

Defensive Maneuvers:

  • I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
  • The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
  • Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
  • Remember to mention the awards and honors that the item has received.
  • Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the material.
  • When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.

Why This Book? When I first read this book, I was so shocked at the occurrences that were written in Night. This brought history to a whole new level for me.

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