Night: the Holocaust and Figurative Language
“Night” by Elie Wiesel is an autobiography in which Elie’s life during the Holocaust is explained. Elie Wiesel uses imagery, figurative language, and pathos as tools to express the horrors he experienced while living through a nightmare, the Holocaust. Elie describes his experiences with imagery. “Open rooms everywhere. Gaping doors and windows looked out into the woid. It all belonged to everyone since it no longer belonged to anyone. ” “Some were crying. They used whatever strength they had left to cry. Why had they let themselves be brought here?
Why didn’t they die in their beds? Their words were interspersed with sobs. ” (35). Elie explains how people reacted to finding their friends alive. You can picture how desperately they cried with an understanding as to why they were crying. “The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out, swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing. And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death…He was still alive when I passed him.
His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet extinguished” (64-65). As a way to show control, keep fear and prevent rebellion, “prisoners” were hung. Elie describes the gruesome hanging of a young boy as he died a slow, painful death. The imagery throughout the book describes, with detail, things that couldn’t be imagined alone. Elie writes his autobiography with figurative language. “My soul had been invaded-and devoured-by a black flame” (37). Elie no longer felt like he was living. He uses a metaphor to compare the feeling of his defeat to his soul being eaten. All I could hear was the violin, and it was as if Juliek’s soul had become his bow. He was playing his life. His whole being was gliding over the strings. His unfulfilled hopes. His charred past, his extinguished future. ” (95). Elie meets Juliek, a man he knew before who played the violin in the Buna band, at the concentration camp in Buchenwald, and as Juliek plays his violin, Elie sees it as Julie expressing how he felt. Elie writes how Juliek and his violin symbolized everyone’s thoughts and feelings.
Using different types of figurative language, Elie conveys the feelings of defeat and anguish they felt. The element of pathos is also used by Elie as means to describe his experience as he appeals to our emotions. “Not far from us, flames, huge flames, were rising from a ditch. Something was being burned there. A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this with my own eyes … children thrown into the flames. ” (32). Elie describes how the ones that couldn’t work were treated.
Because children were seen as a hindrance to the work, they were burned to their death. Even babies who haven’t had the chance to live life were mercilessly murdered. “The idea of dying, of ceasing to be, began to fascinate me. To no longer exist. To no longer feel the excruciating pain of my foot. To no longer feel anything, neither fatigue nor cold, nothing. ” (86). Elie was in so much pain living, her felt that dying would feel better then living. He was suffering so much to the point where he would even accept death if it came.
Elie writes with pathos, as he appeals to the readers’ emotions. Elie Wiesel’s autobiography, “Night”, uses many components in writing a story that would indulge readers as they read how he lived and felt during the Holocaust. He uses things such as imagery, figurative language, and pathos as means to do so. The pain, the horrors, the fear, the defeat felt during that nightmare, the Holocaust; things that we wouldn’t ever be able to truly understand unless we experienced it, he tries his best to speak of his experience as a survivor.