Night Study Questions

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1 Night Study Questions Chapter One 1. What simile does Elie Wiesel use to describe Moishe the Beadle? Given the information that Moishe tries to share with the people of Sighet later in the chapter, what is interesting about this simile choice? 2. Why, do you suppose, Wiesel cries when he prays? 3. Describe Wiesel s opinion of his fellow Sighet citizens. Find and write a line from the text that supports your statement. 4. How old is Wiesel during this opening chapter? How many siblings does he have and what are their names? 5. The German soldiers want to rid their country of the Jewish people, yet every day the Germans came looking for men to load coal into the military trains. What point might Wiesel be trying to make here to the reader? 6. When Wiesel runs to awaken his father s friend, the man with a gray beard and the gaze of a dreamer, we re told about a moment where the man went over to the bed where his wife lay sleeping and with infinite tenderness touched her forehead. What can you infer about the smile that crossed the wife s lips as she awoke? 7. Given Wiesel s description of the behavior of his fellow Sighet residents, do you think Wiesel views hope as a blessing or a curse? Give evidence from the text to support your answer. 8. In your own life, does hope create more harm or good? Explain. 9. When the Hungarian police finally arrive to round up the Jews in the ghetto, what is Wiesel doing? What s ironic about this? 10. Before the Wiesel family members are taken, Maria, their former maid, offers to hide them in a safe shelter. What does Mr. Wiesel say about this offer? What does the family decide? Although it s impossible to place ourselves in such a situation, what do you think your family would decide in such a situation? 11. On their last day in Sighet, the Hungarian police crammed Wiesel and the other remaining Jews into the synagogue, where they were held for 24 hours. Symbolically, what is particularly upsetting about the treatment of this holy building? Sighet 12. Wiesel uses numerous similes in this first chapter as he works to help the reader visualize the events as they unfold. Find and write down four similes from the chapter. Be sure to include the page number of each simile.

2 Night Study Questions Chapter Two 1. Why didn t the Jewish people from Sighet eat enough to satisfy their hunger? What does this show us about these people? Auschwitz Birkenau Cattlecar 2. How does the German officer ensure that none of the 80 passengers in the cattlecar will try to escape? Is this an effective strategy? 3. In what way is Mrs. Schächter similar to Moishe the Beadle? 4. What is your opinion of the treatment given to Mrs. Schächter? Would you have tried to step in and help her? Would you have wanted her silenced? Explain your answer. 5. In what way does the treatment of Mrs. Schächter serve as a parallel to the treatment of all of the people in the cattlecar? Night Study Questions Chapter Two 1. Why didn t the Jewish people from Sighet eat enough to satisfy their hunger? What does this show us about these people? Auschwitz Birkenau Cattlecar 2. How does the German officer ensure that none of the 80 passengers in the cattlecar will try to escape? Is this an effective strategy? 3. In what way is Mrs. Schächter similar to Moishe the Beadle? 4. What is your opinion of the treatment given to Mrs. Schächter? Would you have tried to step in and help her? Would you have wanted her silenced? Explain your answer. 5. In what way does the treatment of Mrs. Schächter serve as a parallel to the treatment of all of the people in the cattlecar?

3 Night Study Questions Chapter Three 1. What eight words will change Wiesel s life forever? For him, what was the meaning of those eight words beyond their literal meaning? 2. A fellow inmate quickly tells Elie Wiesel and his father to lie about their ages. How old is each and what new age do they give to Dr. Mengele, one of the Nazi leaders of Auschwitz? Why, do you suppose, they need to lie about their ages? 3. When the men begin to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, why does Wiesel grow angry? 4. Wiesel tells us that the first night in the camp his life turned into one long night seven times sealed. Symbolically, the number seven is important in Judaism, as it represents divinity and completeness. What, do you suppose, the never-ending night might symbolically represent? 5. The dehumanization of Wiesel and his fellow Jews is on full display in this chapter, as they are treated more like livestock than men. Paraphrase three moments from this chapter where the prisoners are treated like animals. What might such treatment do to a person s view of himself? Elie Wiesel, age 15, shortly before deportation 6. What particular horror was Béla Katz forced to endure? What message can you take from this moment? 7. In chapter 2, Wiesel used numerous similes to help the reader visualize the cattlecar the scene. In chapter 3, he limits this technique and, instead, provides one stark metaphor. Find and write down the metaphor. Then, explain why this metaphor is an especially effective choice, given the trials Wiesel and his people are facing. 8. There are several moments in this chapter that should strike the reader as particularly absurd. Find and describe one of those moments in this chapter. 9. Describe the lie that Wiesel tells to Stein, Reizel s husband. Was lying the morally correct thing to do? Explain your answer. Josef Mengele, German Schutzstaffel (SS) officer and physician

4 Night Study Questions Chapter Four 1. Find and write a line from this chapter that supports the claim that Wiesel and his father were treated more like animals than humans. Close up of a gold crown 2. What detail shows the reader that the dentist from Czechoslovakia likely was not actually a dentist? 3. Wiesel uses his wit and a bit of luck to keep the gold crown on his tooth. Later, though, he must surrender the crown to Franek, the foreman of his work group. Why does Wiesel finally relent and agree to give the crown to Franek? 4. Toward the middle of the chapter, Wiesel says, That was what life in a concentration camp had made of me... To what is he referring here? 5. Identify the literary device Wiesel uses in this line: At first, my father simply doubled over under the blows, but then he seemed to break in two like an old tree struck by lightning. What does the comparison of Idek to lightning emphasize to the reader? 6. What does Juliek, one of the musicians, say that shows the callousness that life in the concentration camp is creating? 7. In the gut-wrenching final scene of this chapter, a pale young boy is hanged for refusing to give information to the Gestapo. Give two pieces of evidence from the text that a reader could use to argue this is the moment where Wiesel s faith in God is broken.

5 Night Study Questions Chapter Five 1. Why, do you suppose, Wiesel directs more of his anger toward God than the Nazis? 2. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is a time for celebration, marking the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Why, then, is Wiesel afraid of having to wish his father a happy new year? 3. When the elder Wiesel hastily gives his son a knife and spoon, what two words does Elie Wiesel use in his narration to describe these items? What is his tone here? 4. What lesson can be drawn from the passage describing Akiba Drumer? 5. At first, staying in the infirmary seems good, as Wiesel is given white sheets, better food, and time away from his usual grueling work. Why, though, should he not want to stay too long in the infirmary? 6. After the evacuation of the camp has been ordered, Wiesel and his father decide not to stay in the infirmary and instead join the main group being marched to a different camp. What fear drives them to make this choice? Two days after the evacuation, what actually happens to the patients who stayed? 7. What unexpected moment from the evacuation shows that the inmates retained their humanity in spite of being treated no better than animals by their guards? 8. Given the snowy weather and Wiesel s statement that it seemed as though an even darker night was waiting for us on the other side, what do you think is going to happen next?

6 Night Study Questions Record your answers on a separate sheet of paper. You must answer in complete sentences. Chapter Six 1. Once again, animal terms are used to describe the inmates in this chapter. List three times when Wiesel or the guards use animal imagery to describe the men. 2. What evidence exists early in this chapter that the emaciated prisoners are actually stronger than their guards? 3. Thinking back to the description of Akiba Drumer in chapter five, what similarities do Drumer and Wiesel hold? What s a crucial difference between them? 4. As his father sleeps, Wiesel watches over the older man, making sure he s safe and breathing. At one point, the elder Wiesel awoke with a start. He sat up, bewildered, stunned, like an orphan. What s significant about this particular simile choice? 5. Explain how Rabbi Eliahu and his son can be seen as a parallel for the relationship between Wiesel and his father. 6. Repeatedly, Wiesel has spoken about his anger with God, yet there is evidence in this chapter that his faith is not entirely broken. Describe the moment that the reader realizes Wiesel is still a believer. 7. What is significant about Juliek playing a Beethoven concerto as he died? Do you think Juliek actually played the music for the mass of people in the pile, or do you think the music was a hallucination created by Wiesel s mind? Explain your answer. 8. Write two lines from this chapter where it s clear that the prisoners set aside their own values in order to survive.

7 Night Study Questions Chapter Seven 1. In the beginning of this chapter, Wiesel says that the night was growing longer, never-ending and that finally a grayish light appeared on the horizon. Why, do you suppose, he describes the daybreak light as grayish instead of yellow or golden? 2. How is the German worker who throws the first piece of bread similar to the French woman who throws coins to the natives in Aden? Are the worker and the woman kind? Cruel? Explain your answer. 3. Explain how the father and son killed in the cattlecar next to Wiesel died. What message can you take away from this incident? 4. What is the first name of Elie Wiesel s father? How do you know this? 5. Of the 100 inmates who were loaded onto the cattlecar, how many survived the trip and were able to walk off the train? 6. Find and write two lines from this chapter that would be useful in an analysis of the book s title, Night. Night Study Questions Chapter Seven 1. In the beginning of this chapter, Wiesel says that the night was growing longer, never-ending and that finally a grayish light appeared on the horizon. Why, do you suppose, he describes the daybreak light as grayish instead of yellow or golden? 2. How is the German worker who throws the first piece of bread similar to the French woman who throws coins to the natives in Aden? Are the worker and the woman kind? Cruel? Explain your answer. 3. Explain how the father and son killed in the cattlecar next to Wiesel died. What message can you take away from this incident? 4. What is the first name of Elie Wiesel s father? How do you know this? 5. Of the 100 inmates who were loaded onto the cattlecar, how many survived the trip and were able to walk off the train? 6. Find and write two lines from this chapter that would be useful in an analysis of the book s title, Night.

8 Night Study Questions Chapter Eight 1. What three adjectives does Wiesel use when he describes childlike behavior? What three adjectives would you use to describe children that you know? What s significant about how your word choices differ from Wiesel s? 2. Describe what happens that makes Wiesel feel ashamed of himself forever? 3. What test does Wiesel believe he has failed? Do you think he is morally the same as Rabbi Eliahu s son? Explain your answer. 4. As Shlomo Wiesel is dying, he has information that he must tell his son. Between gasps for breath, what does he say? What does this show about Shlomo s character? 5. What is the Blockälteste s advice to Wiesel in regards to his father? Is the Blockälteste correct? Explain your answer. Shlomo Wiesel 6. What was Shlomo Wiesel s final word? 7. Why didn t Wiesel weep when he realized his father had died? Night Study Questions Chapter Eight 1. What three adjectives does Wiesel use when he describes childlike behavior? What three adjectives would you use to describe children that you know? What s significant about how your word choices differ from Wiesel s? 2. Describe what happens that makes Wiesel feel ashamed of himself forever? 3. What test does Wiesel believe he has failed? Do you think he is morally the same as Rabbi Eliahu s son? Explain your answer. 4. As Shlomo Wiesel is dying, he has information that he must tell his son. Between gasps for breath, what does he say? What does this show about Shlomo s character? 5. What is the Blockälteste s advice to Wiesel in regards to his father? Is the Blockälteste correct? Explain your answer. Shlomo Wiesel 6. What was Shlomo Wiesel s final word? 7. Why didn t Wiesel weep when he realized his father had died?

9 Night Study Questions Chapter Nine 1. As the Allied Forces draw closer to the Buchenwald concentration camp, the German soldiers decide to evacuate the prisoners. On the day that Wiesel and the other children on his block are supposed to be taken out of the camp, what happens? 2. How long did the battle for control of Buchenwald take? What does this show us about the SS guards? 3. There s a bit of irony involved in the final threat to Wiesel s life at the end of the book. After liberation, Wiesel and the other freed men gorge themselves with food. What happens that forces Wiesel to spend two weeks fighting for his life in a hospital? 4. Write the final sentence of the chapter. Then, explain Wiesel s purposeful mixing of the third-person pronoun he and the first-person pronoun me in that sentence. What point can be draw from this moment? Buchenwald concentration camp Night Study Questions Chapter Nine 1. As the Allied Forces draw closer to the Buchenwald concentration camp, the German soldiers decide to evacuate the prisoners. On the day that Wiesel and the other children on his block are supposed to be taken out of the camp, what happens? 2. How long did the battle for control of Buchenwald take? What does this show us about the SS guards? 3. There s a bit of irony involved in the final threat to Wiesel s life at the end of the book. After liberation, Wiesel and the other freed men gorge themselves with food. What happens that forces Wiesel to spend two weeks fighting for his life in a hospital? 4. Write the final sentence of the chapter. Then, explain Wiesel s purposeful mixing of the third-person pronoun he and the first-person pronoun me in that sentence. What point can be draw from this moment? Buchenwald concentration camp

10 Chapter One 1. What simile does Elie Wiesel use to describe Moishe the Beadle? Given the information that Moishe tries to share with the people of Sighet later in the chapter, what is interesting about this simile choice? On the first page, Moishe is physically described as being as awkward as a clown. The clown comparison is somewhat ironic, as it is one of the reasons that the people decided to dismiss his warnings about the horrors he had seen in the Galician forest near Kolomay. They figure that a goofy guy like Moishe the Beadle couldn t have actually witnessed the atrocities he s describing; they dismiss his warnings as a misguided attempt to seek attention or the ramblings of a madman. Nobody would want to believe him, anyway. 2. Why, do you suppose, Wiesel cries when he prays? He tells Moishe that he cries because something inside me felt the need to cry. This might be that he s moved by the beauty of talking to his creator or this might be an element of foreshadowing, as the reader knows the grief these people will have to endure because of their religion. Finally, the reader learns here that Wiesel is an especially devout boy. 3. Describe Wiesel s opinion of his fellow Sighet citizens. Find and write a line from the text that supports your statement. Opinions will vary, but it should be clear that Wiesel views his fellow citizens as foolishly hopeful. He also likes them, but recognizes their flaws. One line that shows this is on the first page, when Wiesel writes, As a rule, our townspeople, while they did help the needy, did not particularly like them. Any reasonable response should be given credit. 4. How old is Wiesel during this opening chapter? How many siblings does he have and what are their names? Elie Wiesel tells us that he was 13 at this time. He is the only son and has three sisters, the eldest Hilda, the second born Bea, and Tzipora, the youngest in the family. Wiesel is the third-born child in the family. 5. The German soldiers want to rid their country of the Jewish people, yet every day the Germans came looking for men to load coal into the military trains. What point might Wiesel be trying to make here to the reader? Students answers will vary, but it s rather absurd that the soldiers want to get rid of an entire group of people whose help they need/want to make their military transport function. What happens if the Germans do get rid of all of the Jews? There will be unpleasant, dirty labor that the Germans will have to perform for themselves. It s also particularly cruel that the Jewish men are tasked with helping feed coal to the machines that will ultimately deliver them and their families to the concentration camps. 6. When Wiesel runs to awaken his father s friend, the man with a gray beard and the gaze of a dreamer, we re told about a moment where the man went over to the bed where his wife lay sleeping and with infinite tenderness touched her forehead. What can you infer about the smile that crossed the wife s lips as she awoke? It s a small, but particularly sad moment, as this will likely be the last moment of happiness in this woman s life. Wiesel uses this moment to show us that everything changes in this instant, which is emphasized when he says that the man s children were torn from their dreams. 7. Given Wiesel s description of the behavior of his fellow Sighet residents, do you think Wiesel views hope as a blessing or a curse? Give evidence from the text to support your answer. Students answers will vary and any reasonable answer should be given credit, but it does seem that Wiesel is frustrated that so many people dismissed warning signs in the foolish hope that everything would be okay. 8. In your own life, does hope create more harm or good? Explain. Students answers will vary and any reasonable answer should be given credit. 9. When the Hungarian police finally arrive to round up the Jews in the ghetto, what is Wiesel doing? What s ironic about this? Wiesel is in the midst of morning prayers when the police arrive and start shouting for all Jews to assemble outside. The irony is that Wiesel was in the midst of a holy act when evil arrives. Even prayer can t save Wiesel from the hell he s about to face. 10. Before the Wiesel family members are taken, Maria, their former maid, offers to hide them in a safe shelter. What does Mr. Wiesel say about this offer? What does the family decide? Although it s impossible to place ourselves in such a situation, what do you think your family would decide in such a situation? Mr. Wiesel says the three older children can choose whether to go or stay, but he will stay with his wife and youngest daughter. The three older children also decide to stay, refusing Maria s offer. Students answers to the last question will vary, but most students say their families would also choose to stay together. Fleeing as a whole group would also be incredibly difficult and dangerous.

11 11. On their last day in Sighet, the Hungarian police crammed Wiesel and the other remaining Jews into the synagogue, where they were held for 24 hours. Symbolically, what is particularly upsetting about the treatment of this holy building? The alter has been shattered and the religious wall coverings destroyed. The people are not only forced to witness their destroyed holy place, but also they are forced to urinate/defecate in their holy house, a true humiliation and insult. 12. Wiesel uses numerous similes in this first chapter as he works to help the reader visualize the events as they unfold. Find and write down four similes from the chapter. Be sure to include the page number of each simile. Students answers will vary, but here are some possible answers (These page numbers are from the 2006 Hill and Wang Publishers version): Physically, he was as awkward as a clown (3). The courtyard turned into something like an antechamber to an operating room (13). Our backyard looked like a marketplace (15). By eight o clock in the morning, weariness had settled into our veins, our limbs, our brains, like molten lead (16). They passed me by, like beaten dogs, with never a glance in my direction (17). Monday went by like a small summer cloud, like a dream in the first hours of dawn (18). The synagogue resembled a large railroad station: baggage and tears (22). Chapter Two 1. Why didn t the Jewish people from Sighet eat enough to satisfy their hunger? What does this show us about these people? During the journey in the cattlecar, they ate just enough to survive, saving as much of the food as they could in case things grew even more desperate in the days to come. This shows the reader that the people are scared, but still wise. They know they are heading into terrible times and are trying to do anything they can to endure. 2. How does the German officer ensure that none of the 80 passengers in the cattlecar will try to escape? Is this an effective strategy? He tells the captives that if any one of them goes missing, all of them will be shot, like dogs. Most students will agree that this collective punishment is effective because the group would not wish to be punished for the rogue acts of one person. Also, someone who is thinking of escaping wouldn t want to be responsible for the deaths of friends, neighbors, and family members. 3. In what way is Mrs. Schächter similar to Moishe the Beadle? Both of them realize the horror that awaits, yet both are silenced/dismissed by their peers. Both are driven mad by their inability to communicate their knowledge to the others. Nobody will heed their warnings. 4. What is your opinion of the treatment given to Mrs. Schächter? Would you have tried to step in and help her? Would you have wanted her silenced? Explain your answer. Students answers will vary. This question makes for a lively class discussion as you review the answers. 5. In what way does the treatment of Mrs. Schächter serve as a parallel to the treatment of all of the people in the cattlecar? She is hated and silenced by nearly lethal force, just as all of the Jews in the traincar are hated by the Germans and will be beaten and, ultimately, silenced. Chapter Three 1. What eight words will change Wiesel s life forever? For him, what was the meaning of those eight words beyond their literal meaning? The eight words are: Men to the left! Women to the right! These words mark the last time he will ever see his mother or younger sister, Tzipora. It marks the permanent separation of his family and the true end to life as he has known it. 2. A fellow inmate quickly tells Elie Wiesel and his father to lie about their ages. How old is each and what new age do they give to Dr. Mengele, one of the Nazi leaders of Auschwitz? Why, do you suppose, they need to lie about their ages? Elie is 15, but says that he is 18. His father is 50, but says that he is 40. They need to lie because children and the elderly are being targeted by the Nazis for immediate extermination. By pretending to be strong men, they have more hope to survive a bit longer. 3. When the men begin to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, why does Wiesel grow angry? In this moment, he feels angry at God for allowing this horror to occur. Wiesel was a devout young man, yet he now questions how a just and mighty God chose to be silent in the face of such evil. The experience is making him doubt his faith and

12 throwing him into a spiritual crisis, which will unfold as the book continues. 4. Wiesel tells us that the first night in the camp his life turned into one long night seven times sealed. Symbolically, the number seven is important in Judaism, as it represents divinity and completeness. What, do you suppose, the never-ending night might symbolically represent? Students answers will vary, but night here can represent the loss of hope, the presence of evil, death, or the lack of God/light/salvation in the world. Credit should be given for any reasonable answer. 5. The dehumanization of Wiesel and his fellow Jews is on full display in this chapter, as they are treated more like livestock than men. Paraphrase three moments from this chapter where the prisoners are treated like animals. What might such treatment do to a person s view of himself? Students answers will vary because there are numerous moments they could choose, including: When the men are stripped naked and forced to abandon their clothes and, essentially, their identities. When they are shaved hairless. When they are ordered to run, stop, stand. When they are given a room with no floor, just mud. When the Gypsy guard stares down Mr. Wiesel, as though trying to ascertain that the person addressing him was actually a creature of flesh and bone, a human being with a body and a belly. When they are tattooed with I.D. numbers, in much the same way that cattle are branded/marked by the owner. (Students should also be informed that this was doubly insulting because the Torah specifically forbids Jews from tattooing their bodies.) After enduring this treatment for a while, people will likely start to behave poorly, eventually even returning to their animal-like basic instincts of survival. When our identities are stripped away, our social norms and mores are also challenged; we should not be surprised to see people maltreat one another. 6. What particular horror was Béla Katz forced to endure? What message can you take from this moment? Béla Katz, a strong man from Wiesel s town, had been chosen to work in the crematoria, where he was assigned to place his own father s body into a furnace. Students answers to the second question will vary, but they may talk about Katz s strength of spirit to be able to endure or they may talk about the grotesque insensitivity of the SS officers. I give credit for any reasonable answer to the question. 7. In chapter 2, Wiesel used numerous similes to help the reader visualize the cattlecar the scene. In chapter 3, he limits this technique and, instead, provides one stark metaphor. Find and write down the metaphor. Then, explain why this metaphor is an especially effective choice, given the trials Wiesel and his people are facing. The metaphor is: We were withered trees in the heart of the desert. This image choice is effective because the people are frail and dehydrated; also, they are trapped in the middle of a hell that seemingly has no escape. Nobody is coming to rescue, or even visit, them. It is as though they are completely alone in the world. Finally, that tree in the desert appears to be dead, but may actually have life-saving water flowing deep inside its trunk, just as the Jewish people seem doomed but still have a bit of hope and inner-strength keeping them alive. 8. There are several moments in this chapter that should strike the reader as particularly absurd. Find and describe one of those moments in this chapter. Answers will vary, but it s somewhat absurd that Wiesel thanks God in an improvised prayer for making mud, which has allowed him to cover his shoes and hide them from the guards. Another upsetting moment occurs toward the end of the chapter when German girls are flirting, kissing, and passing love notes to the German soldiers who are marching a group of Jewish men toward their deaths. Ew. 9. Describe the lie that Wiesel tells to Stein, Reizel s husband. Was lying the morally correct thing to do? Explain your answer. Wiesel tells Stein that Reizel and their two sons are safe, even though it s been years since his mother has heard from Reizel and the truth is that she and the boys have very likely been killed. Students answers to the moral question will vary, but it is interesting to note that Wiesel has been critical of people s foolish hope yet he gives that same hope to Stein in this scene. It is the hope that his wife and children are still alive that keeps Stein going, at least until the truth arrives on a transport train from Antwerp. Chapter Four 1. Find and write a line from this chapter that supports the claim that Wiesel and his father were treated more like animals than humans. Students answers will vary, but here s one: You...you...you... They pointed their fingers, the

13 way one might choose cattle, or merchandise. I give credit for any reasonable answer to the question. 2. What detail shows the reader that the dentist from Czechoslovakia likely was not actually a dentist? The man s own teeth are described as yellow and rotten. His manner doesn t instill any confidence. 3. Wiesel uses his wit and a bit of luck to keep the gold crown on his tooth. Later, though, he must surrender the crown to Franek, the foreman of his work group. Why does Wiesel finally relent and agree to give the crown to Franek? It s a move to protect his father, who is unable to march in time and, therefore, earns frequent beatings from Franek. The gold crown makes Franek go a bit easier on the elder Wiesel, but only for a short time because Franek was transferred to another camp just two weeks later. 4. Toward the middle of the chapter, Wiesel says, That was what life in a concentration camp had made of me... To what is he referring here? This line comes just after Wiesel describes the anger he felt toward his father when his father drew the ire of Idek and received a brutal beating. In this moment, Wiesel is blaming the victim, a move which the reader can tell he now views as shameful. In the concentration camp, survival seems to trump everything, including sympathy and humanity. Wiesel seems to sometimes view his love for his father as a weakness that threatens his own survival. 5. Identify the literary device Wiesel uses in this line: At first, my father simply doubled over under the blows, but then he seemed to break in two like an old tree struck by lightning. What does the comparison of Idek to lightning emphasize to the reader? This line includes a simile, which shows the reader that those in power seem unstoppable to Wiesel. Here, Idek wields intense and terrifying power on par with the uncontrollable force of lightning; there is a storm bearing down on these men and the painful strikes they receive seem violent and random. 6. What does Juliek, one of the musicians, say that shows the callousness that life in the concentration camp is creating? When a young man from Warsaw is being publicly hanged, Juliek wonders aloud, This ceremony, will it be over soon? I m hungry... These events must be so frequent that they no longer hold much emotional impact on the observers. This should be shocking to the reader. 7. In the gut-wrenching final scene of this chapter, a pale young boy is hanged for refusing to give information to the Gestapo. Give two pieces of evidence from the text that a reader could use to argue this is the moment where Wiesel s faith in God is broken. Here are three possible answers. 1. The boy is described not once, but twice as having the face of an angel. The introduction of this innocent, heavenly figure emphasizes the religious significance of this scene. 2. At the very end of the chapter, Wiesel literally says that God is hanging in the gallows, essentially deciding for himself that God is dead. 3. As the boy is hanged with the two other men, there was total silence and on the horizon, the sun was setting. The setting of the sun can be seen as a symbol. The arrival of night (the inspiration for the book s title) marks the presence of evil and a loss of light/hope/god. Chapter Five 1. Why, do you suppose, Wiesel directs more of his anger toward God than the Nazis? Wiesel was a devout believer and he now feels abandoned by his God; his faith has been broken. He had no expectation that the Nazis would care for him or his fellow Jews. He did, though, think that God wouldn t turn his back on faithful followers. His anger is on display here vividly. 2. Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is a time for celebration, marking the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Why, then, is Wiesel afraid of having to wish his father a happy new year? Doing so would be hypocritical, since he is now doubting his own believe in God and Judaism. Also, the current year has been a horror, so it s frightening to think of worsening conditions and likely death that the new year will bring for them. There is nothing joyous or happy about this day. 3. When the elder Wiesel hastily gives his son a knife and spoon, what two words does Elie Wiesel use in his narration to describe these items? What is his tone here? He looks at the knife and the spoon and thinks, My inheritance. Students answers will vary in regards to his tone here, ranging from somber to sarcastic. 4. What lesson can be drawn from the passage describing Akiba Drumer? Students answers will vary, but the careful reader should notice that Drumer s broken spirit and lack of fight to carry on might foreshadow Wiesel s own future, as both men suffer from a loss of faith in God. 5. At first, staying in the infirmary seems good, as Wiesel is given white sheets, better food, and time away from his usual grueling work. Why, though, should he not want to stay too long in the infirmary? He is warned by a

14 fellow patient that selections occur more frequently in the infirmary because there are limited numbers of beds and Germany has no need for sick Jews. 6. After the evacuation of the camp has been ordered, Wiesel and his father decide not to stay in the infirmary and instead join the main group being marched to a different camp. What fear drives them to make this choice? Two days after the evacuation, what actually happens to the patients who stayed? The men worried that the ill patients would be thrown into the furnaces once the main camp was evacuated or that the whole camp would be blown up by the Germans to cover up their inhumane actions. The patients who stayed were actually rescued by Russian soldiers two days after the camp was abandoned by the Germans. If Wiesel and his father had stayed, they would ve avoided the last hell they face on the wintry death march. 7. What unexpected moment from the evacuation shows that the inmates retained their humanity in spite of being treated no better than animals by their guards? When it s time to leave, the Blockälteste leader of Wiesel s group orders four men to mop the floor, saying, For the liberating army...let them know that here lived men and not pigs. It s an important moment because it shows that the men are not entirely broken and it can be read a sign of hope or determination; they have retained some of their humanity. 8. Given the snowy weather and Wiesel s statement that it seemed as though an even darker night was waiting for us on the other side, what do you think is going to happen next? Students answers will vary, but it should be clear to all that the tragedies will mount even higher. Also, we know from the aside comment Wiesel makes halfway through the first chapter that his father will die. Observant students will remember this moment and realize that we are beginning the end for the elder Wiesel. Chapter Six 1. Once again, animal terms are used to describe the inmates in this chapter. List three times when Wiesel or the guards use animal imagery to describe the men. Students answers will vary because there are many examples. Here are four: 1. The SS guards yell, Faster, you tramps, you flea-ridden dogs! 2. Wiesel says that when one of us stopped for a second, a quick shot eliminated the filthy dog. 3. Wiesel says that as he was running he still owned a body that galloped down the road The wave of men behind him could have crushed Wiesel like an ant. 2. What evidence exists early in this chapter that the emaciated prisoners are actually stronger than their guards? The frail men are able to run 20 kilometers (or 12.4 miles) in their weakened state, while the guards are replaced when they grow too tired of running. Mentally, the Jewish men are also strong, Wiesel tells us, as they were stronger than cold and hunger, stronger than the guns and the desire to die Thinking back to the description of Akiba Drumer in chapter five, what similarities do Drumer and Wiesel hold? What s a crucial difference between them? Both Drumer and Wiesel questioned their faith and their God, but Wiesel doesn t surrender to hopelessness, as Drumer did shortly before his death. In ch. 6, Wiesel tells us that he resists the temptation of sleeping deeply in that snowy shed because deep inside, I knew that to sleep meant to die. And something in me rebelled against that death. That internal fire and desire to live is the critical difference between the two. 4. As his father sleeps, Wiesel watches over the older man, making sure he s safe and breathing. At one point, the elder Wiesel awoke with a start. He sat up, bewildered, stunned, like an orphan. What s significant about this particular simile choice? Tragically, it s an element of foreshadowing, as Wiesel will soon be an orphan himself. Remember, we know from the aside comment Wiesel makes halfway through the first chapter that his father will die. Also, this simile marks a flip of the relationship roles between father and son. The feeble father now needs caretaking by his stronger son. 5. Explain how Rabbi Eliahu and his son can be seen as a parallel for the relationship between Wiesel and his father. Students answers will vary, but Wiesel admits that he understands the rabbi s son s desire to distance himself from his elderly father. Wiesel also uses his realization of the son s decision to abandon his father as a model of what he does NOT want to do to his own father. 6. Repeatedly, Wiesel has spoken about his anger with God, yet there is evidence in this chapter that his faith is not entirely broken. Describe the moment that the reader realizes Wiesel is still a believer. After the short discussion with Rabbi Eliahu, Wiesel makes a quick prayer to God that he will never abandon his father. By reaching out to God in

15 this moment, we see that there is still faith in Wiesel s heart. 7. What is significant about Juliek playing a Beethoven concerto as he died? Do you think Juliek actually played the music for the mass of people in the pile, or do you think the music was a hallucination created by Wiesel s mind? Explain your answer. The music choice is significant because Juliek was earlier prevented from playing Beethoven because Jews were not permitted to play German music in the concentration camp. It s a move of defiance. As for the second question, students answers will vary and this question often leads to a heated debate during in-class review of the answers. 8. Write two lines from this chapter where it s clear that the prisoners set aside their own values in order to survive. Students answers will vary, and I give credit for any reasonable answers. Chapter Seven 1. In the beginning of this chapter, Wiesel says that the night was growing longer, never-ending and that finally a grayish light appeared on the horizon. Why, do you suppose, he describes the daybreak light as grayish instead of yellow or golden? Symbolically, gray is dismal and signals that the horrors of night continue into the daytime. Traditionally, light has symbolized hope or grace, but there will be none of that for the inmates in the cattlecar. Golden or yellow light would ve been a hopeful sign. 2. How is the German worker who throws the first piece of bread similar to the French woman who throws coins to the natives in Aden? Are the worker and the woman kind? Cruel? Explain your answer. Students answers will vary, but both could be described as making seemingly charitable moves that create damage to the intended beneficiaries. The worker s motives are ambiguous, while the woman seems more oblivious to the harm her actions are creating. She does not see the suffering at all. 3. Explain how the father and son killed in the cattlecar next to Wiesel died. What message can you take away from this incident? In this moment, an elderly man has managed to grab and hide a crust of bread. As he slips the bread into his mouth, his own son attacks him, beating him to death. The son then takes the bread and begins to eat it when he is jumped by two other men. They kill the son and take the bread for themselves. Students answers to the question about the message from the incident will vary; I give credit for any reasonable responses. 4. What is the first name of Elie Wiesel s father? How do you know this? The elder man is named Shlomo Wiesel. We know this because Meir Katz, a friend from their time in Buna, addresses him by his first name, Shlomo. 5. Of the 100 inmates who were loaded onto the cattlecar, how many survived the trip and were able to walk off the train? Only12 men survived, including Eliezer and Shlomo Wiesel. 6. Find and write two lines from this chapter that would be useful in an analysis of the book s title, Night. Students answers will vary, but I d probably choose the following: 1. The days resembled the nights, and the nights left in our souls the dregs of the darkness. 2. And the night seemed endless. Chapter Eight 1. What three adjectives does Wiesel use when he describes childlike behavior? What three adjectives would you use to describe children that you know? What s significant about how your word choices differ from Wiesel s? Wiesel uses the words, weak, frightened, and vulnerable. Students adjective choices will differ greatly. The difference, of course, is that Wiesel s childhood has been forever cloaked in the horrors of the Holocaust. Most of our students have enjoyed relatively peaceful, harmonious lives by comparison and this easier life experience will likely be reflected in their adjective choices. 2. Describe what happens that makes Wiesel feel ashamed of himself forever? During the alert sirens, Wiesel followed the mob rather than take care of his ailing father. He abandoned his father, leaving him to fend for himself, and he will feel guilty about that choice forever. 3. What test does Wiesel believe he has failed? Do you think he is morally the same as Rabbi Eliahu s son? Explain your answer. Wiesel believes that he placed his own desire for survival above the needs of his father. Yes, he shared his soup, but down deep in his heart he didn t really want to share it. He feels his selfishness comes from the same spiteful place that compelled Rabbi Eliahu s son to run far ahead of his own ailing father. Students answers to the second question will vary; I give credit for any reasonable answers. 4. As Shlomo Wiesel is dying, he has information that he must tell his son. Between gasps for breath, what does he

16 say? What does this show about Shlomo s character? Shlomo Wiesel tells Elie that he has buried the family s gold and silver in the cellar of their home. One of Shlomo s last lucid thoughts is an attempt to continue to help his family, showing his belief that Elie will survive. This also shows that Shlomo was a loving, dedicated family man. Even at the end, he was thinking of his family members and wanted to do all he could to protect them. 5. What is the Blockälteste s advice to Wiesel in regards to his father? Is the Blockälteste correct? Explain your answer. The Blockälteste says that Elie needs to think of himself first and stop wasting his meager food rations on his father; in fact, he suggests that Elie should be eating his father s food, too, since the old man is nearly dead already. Students answers to the second question will vary and usually make for a good debate when answers are reviewed in class discussion. 6. What was Shlomo Wiesel s final word? He spoke the name of his son, Eliezer. 7. Why didn t Wiesel weep when he realized his father had died? He says that he was out of tears, but he also felt a strange sense of relief. At least now, the man s suffering had ceased and his spirit could be free. Chapter Nine 1. As the Allied Forces draw closer to the Buchenwald concentration camp, the German soldiers decide to evacuate the prisoners. On the day that Wiesel and the other children on his block are supposed to be taken out of the camp, what happens? A resistance movement of armed men is able to overthrow the SS guards and take charge of the camp. That evening, an American tank arrives at the camp, marking the emancipation of Wiesel and his fellow inmates. 2. How long did the battle for control of Buchenwald take? What does this show us about the SS guards? Wiesel says the battle did not take long. This shows us that the SS guards were not as mighty as the prisoners believed them to be; it could also show that the guards were exhausted, too. With the Allied Forces on the horizon, the SS guards were no longer willing to stay and fight; instead, they quickly fled. 3. There s a bit of irony involved in the final threat to Wiesel s life at the end of the book. After liberation, Wiesel and the other freed men gorge themselves with food. What happens that forces Wiesel to spend two weeks fighting for his life in a hospital? He was very ill from some sort of poisoning, perhaps from all of the food he consumed. 4. Write the final sentence of the chapter. Then, explain Wiesel s purposeful mixing of the third-person pronoun he and the first-person pronoun me in that sentence. What point can be draw from this moment? Wiesel s decision to refer to himself in the third-person is compelling here; it s as though the older Wiesel who is narrating the book is not entirely connected to the younger Wiesel looking in the mirror. It must feel as if he s lived two different lives. Students answers will vary and I give credit for any reasonable answer.

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