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Free Study Guide for Night by Elie Wiesel-Summary/BookNotes/Synopsis
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Since Night is the autobiographical account of Elie Wiesel during World War II, it does not follow the traditional pattern of fictional plot development. The book can, however, be viewed as having a protagonist and antagonist.


The narrator, main character, and protagonist of the book is Eliezer Wiesel (Elie). In the beginning, he is a young Jewish teenager living in Romania during Hitler's reign. A religious and studious young man, he possesses a strong sense of tradition and faith. Once he and his father are arrested by the Nazis and deported, his life becomes a struggle to survive. He is horribly tortured to the point that he loses faith in God.


The antagonists in the book are Hitler and his anti- Semitic Nazi regime, who persecute and kill Jews. Included amongst the antagonists are the Hungarian Policemen, the Gestapo, and the Nazi guards and doctors. Through much of the book, these characters torture Elie, until he is emotionally and physically shattered.


The climax occurs approximately halfway through the book, in the fifth section, when Elie loses his faith in God, which has been so important to him throughout life. He is so horrified over the torture that he has witnessed and endured, he questions if God exists and refuses to pray to Him on Rosh Hashanah. It is obvious that the antagonist has gotten the best of Elie Wiesel.


The book ends as a tragedy. Besides being horribly tortured himself, Elie also endures horrendous emotional torture. He loses his faith in God; he also loses his father, mother, and younger sister. Even though he survives the concentration camp and is rescued by Allied forces, Elie is very sick, both physically and emotionally. His sufferings have turned his soul into a living corpse, shadowed forever by the long, black night of evil he has endured.

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