Friday, January 30, 2015

Night--Elie Wiesel

The time has come! Our discussion of Night will commence

On Monday I listed some questions to think about after reading (or while reading if you started the book this week). 

First of all, what did you think of the book? Was it what you were expecting? Why or why not? Were you surprised with anything? If you've read it before, what new things did you notice this time around?

Wiesel describes his faith before the Holocaust. How does his faith change throughout his experiences?

What meanings could "night" have throughout the book? (figurative and literal)

Who are the victims, the bystanders, and the perpetrators in Night? Can these roles overlap at all? If so, how do they?

Which scenes from Night stood out to you most vividly? And why?

Wiesel describes himself as a "corpse" at the end of the book. How did he die during his trials and did he ever start living again?

Finally, in what way can you connect with Elie? How does he as a person influence us as readers in 2015?

And I've thought long and hard about re-reading this book. You see, my Sophomore students read this book for class and I just have a standard study guide for it. There are about a bajillion questions for each section and they get tired of answering them and I get tired of correcting them. So I'm very glad that Aubrey hadn't read the book and therefore wanted to add it to our list for Second Chance.

That being said, I was impressed with Night the second fourth time around. I recall reading it in high school and a few times on my own during college. It was one of those books I could pick up and read in a few days. But this time around, I was looking at it in a different way. I was using my teacher eyes and my student eyes at different times. Overall, I was impressed again with the sadness Wiesel evokes in his readers. One line that sticks out in my mind is from the end when the head of their block tells Elie "[h]ere, there are no fathers, no brothers, no friends. Everyone lives and dies for himself alone." And the thing that struck me, is that it seems like life should be the opposite. Don't get me wrong. I comprehend the meaning that this man was intending, but as a human being, as a Christian--aren't we called to live life together? After Elie goes on to try to only think about himself, his guilt returns.

That guilt is one of the reasons Elie kept returning to his father.

Through the entire story, Elie's spirit kept resonating with me. What about his spirit? While I wrote the questions above, last week--I found that I was drawn more toward that spirit than anything else. Elie's spirit has been defeated. He is completely broken by the time he looks at his "corpse" in the mirror. It was his spirit that died during his trials in WWII.

While Wiesel tells a horrific account of his experiences in WWII's concentration camps, I do not know if I could handle reading it again. Ultimately, it's his determination that keeps him alive. Once his father died, he had nothing to live for but food. He was determined to eat. That, for me, was heartbreaking.

I'm not sure what the rest of you thought, but it was good for me to read again as a teacher (from my perspective and my students' perspective). It's the "night" that haunted Elie and the others throughout their entire ordeal.

What did you think? Did you follow along with my questions better than I did? If nothing else, I hope a few of my ramblings and thoughts encourage you to read it again or at least to sit down and chew it over again.

And with that, we'll see you in February with The Glass Menagerie, which I will be leading again! See you then!

1 comment:

  1. I'm such a bad co-host! I finally got my post written! We need to get a linky tool up in your post for next month! :)


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