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Free Study Guide for Night by Elie Wiesel-Summary/BookNotes/Synopsis
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

SETTINGS

Note: The sections in the original text are not numbered. The numbers have been added for convenience in discussing the book.

Night is set during the Second World War. The first section of the novel begins in Sighet, a small town in Transylvania (Romania) and ends in a train which stops in Kaschau (Czechoslovakia).

The second section of the book continues in the train as the deportees head towards Auschwitz, the Death Camp.

In the third section, the setting shifts to Birkenau, which is the selection and disposal center for the prisoners. Elie and his father survive the selection process and enter Auschwitz, where they are both repeatedly tortured.

In the fourth section, they are marched to Buna, where the author stays for the longest period in the span of the book.

Section five is also set in Buna.

In section six, the prisoners are marched through snow to Gleiwitz, for the Germans do not want them to be liberated by the approaching Russian Army.

In the seventh section, the surviving prisoners are loaded in roofless cattle wagons and sent on a freezing ten-day journey to Buchenwald in Germany.

In the eighth section, Elie is seen nursing his sick father, who eventually dies at Buchenwald.

In the ninth and final section of the book, the Allied army arrives and frees the prisoners. After his release, Elie grows very ill and must be hospitalized. The book ends with his looking at himself in the mirror and thinking that he looks like a corpse.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

Eliezer Wiesel (Elie)

The narrator, protagonist, and main character. Since he is a Jewish teenager living in Romania during Hitler's occupation and reign, he is persecuted and imprisoned. The book is really a telling of his experiences during the war.


Shlomo Wiesel (also translated as Chlomo)

Elie's father. He is a considerate and religious man and shopkeeper who is respected by the villagers. He is arrested along with his son and imprisoned in a concentration camp, where he dies.

Minor Characters

Moshe the Beadle

A poor and lonely religious man. He tells terrifying tales about the condition of the Jews in concentration camps, which Elie and the villagers find hard to believe.

Mrs. Wiesel

Elie's mother. She is a loving person who cares for her family and who works to infuse courage in others.

Hilda Wiesel

Elie's oldest sister, who works in the family grocery store. She is arrested and deported to a concentration camp. Like her brother, she manages to survive the experience.

Beatrice Wiesel (Bea)

Elie's older sister, who is the second child in the family. She also manages to survive.

Tzipora

Elie's younger sister, who does not survive the concentration camp. She gives an impression of both innocence and stoicism.

Batya Reich

A relative who stays with the Wiesels in the Sighet ghetto.

Stein of Antwerp

A relative who meets Elie and his father at Auschwitz. He is worried about his wife and his sons. Elie cheers him by telling him the lie that his mother has been receiving letters from Steins' wife.

Berkovitz

A villager who reports on the terror inflicted on Hungarian Jews.

Madame Kahn

Wiesel's neighbor. She provides temporary accommodation to a German officer.

The Hungarian Police Officer

A kind officer who assures Elie's father that he will inform him if there is danger. He keeps his promise.

Stern

A police officer in Sighet. He calls Chlomo Wiesel to attend a council meeting.

Maria

The considerate maidservant of the Wiesels, who offers them shelter and safety. Unfortunately Mr. Wiesel does not accept her offer.

Madame Schachter

A fifty year old deportee who has hallucinations of "fire and furnace" while traveling on the train.

Madame Schachter's son

A ten-year old boy who seems quite courageous for his age.

Bela Katz

The son of a tradesman in Sighet. He is made to work in the crematory.

Yechiel

The brother of a Rabbi from Sighet. He weeps for Elie and his father when they arrive at Birkenau.

Akiba Drumer

A singer with a deep voice; he dies in the concentration camp.

Juliek

A Polish musician who plays the violin in Buna. He gives his final performance when the prisoners arrive at Gleiwitz and dies the next day.

Louis

A Dutch violinist who regrets that Jews are not allowed to play Beethoven's music.

Hans

A Berlin musician who tries to relax Elie, who is suffering from tension due to his assignment in the electrical warehouse.

Franek

A former student from Warsaw. He demands the gold from Elie's tooth and tries to bully him. Since Elie does not give him the gold tooth, he tortures his father.

Yossi and Tibi

Czech brothers whose parents are killed. They work in the electrical warehouse with Elie and become his friends.

Alphonse

A kind German Jew who gives extra soup to the young and the weak.

The French Jewess

A woman who pretends to be an Aryan to keep herself safe. She works in the electrical warehouse and befriends Elie.

The Young Thief from Warsaw

A strong young man who blesses liberty and curses the Germans before he is hung.

Dutch Ogerkapo

A kind supervisor who is tortured for blowing up Buna's power station. In spite of the torture, he does not name his co-conspirators.

Pipel

A thirteen-year-old boy who looks angelic. He is an assistant to the Dutch Ogerkapo. When he is hanged, it takes him more than thirty minutes to die because he weighs so little.

Elie's Blockaelteste

An experienced man who guides the prisoners on how to pass through the selection process.

The Polish Rabbi

A Rabbi from a small town in Poland; he is a sincere student of the Talmud.

The hospitalized Hungarian Jew

A patient with severe dysentery. He lies in a bed near Elie. He is sure that he will not pass the selection test and believes that all Jews will be killed before the end of the war.

The Jewish doctor

A kind doctor who operates on Elie's infected foot.


Zalman

A worker in the electrical warehouse who dies during the journey from Buna.

Rabbi Eliahou

An aged Rabbi. He desperately searches for his son, whom he cannot find during the journey from Buna.

Eliahou's Son

A selfish and traitorous young man who leaves his father behind to save himself.

Meir Katz

A strong gardener from Sighet. He helps to free Elie from an attacker in the train to Gleiwitz.

Idek

A violent Kapo in the Buna warehouse. He lashes Elie cruelly during one of his violent fits, because Elie has seen him lying on the mattress with a woman.

The Dentist from Czechoslovakia

A corrupt man who enriches himself by collecting gold teeth. He tries unsuccessfully to persuade Elie to give him his gold tooth.

The Dentist from Warsaw

A polish dentist who pulls out Elie's gold tooth, using a rusty spoon, instead of an extractor.

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