Needed: 2-3 sheets of paper Something to write with Your complete attention! Introduction to Night
Quick Write • Write a simple response to what I just read to you! Things to think about… • What went through your mind as I read? • What images came to mind? • What types of feelings/thoughts did you experience as I was reading? • How do YOU feel about this topic?
Elie Wiesel – author of Night • Born September 30, 1928 in Sighet • Romanian-born French-Jewish novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor. • Author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps.
Family Background • Wiesel was born to Shlomo and Sarah Wiesel with three sisters: Hilda and Bea, who were older than he, and Tzipora, who was the youngest. • Shlomo (father) was an Orthodox Jew of Hungarian descent, and a shopkeeper who ran his own grocery store. • active and trusted within the community • had spent a few months in jail for having helped Polish Jews who escaped to Hungary in the early years of the war. • encouraged Elie him to learn Modern Hebrew and to read literature, whereas his mother encouraged him to study Torah and Kabbalah. • Wiesel has said his father represented reason, and his mother, faith.
Background cont. • After the war, Wiesel was placed in a French orphanage, where he learned the French language and was reunited with both his older sisters, Hilda and Bea, who had also survived the war. • In 1955, Wiesel moved to Manhattan, New York, and became a U.S. citizen.
His writing career • Wiesel began writing after a ten-year self-imposed vow of silence about the Holocaust. • In the U.S., Wiesel wrote over 40 books, both fiction and non-fiction, and won many literary prizes. • Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for speaking out against violence, repression, and racism. • He served as chairman for the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust from 1978 to 1986, spearheading the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
Night – Elie Wiesel • genre · World War II / Holocaust autobiography • time written· Mid-1950’s • setting (time) · 1941–1945, during World War II • settings (place) · Eliezer’s story begins in Sighet, Transylvania. The book then follows his journey through several concentration camps in Europe: • date of first publication · English translation was published in 1960. • narrator· Eliezer (a slightly fictionalized version of Elie Wiesel) • point of view · Eliezer speaks in the first person and always relates the autobiographical events from his perspective. • tense· Past • tone· Eliezer’s perspective is limited to his own experience, and the tone of Night is therefore intensely personal, one-sided, and intimate.
Disclaimer – Do not write down • Night is not meant to be an all-encompassing discussion on the experience of the Holocaust; instead, it depicts the extraordinarily personal and painful experiences of a single victim. • You will be exposed to many disturbing ideas, thoughts, and graphics. If you are uncomfortable (or become uncomfortable) with anything we cover – please come see me!