Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chapter 1 (pages 3-22) Reflection

What did you find especially ironic or disturbing about this chapter?


  1. I find it quite sad that they did not escape when they had the chance. I think they did not leave at that time for a couple of reasons. First of all, as Elie's father said, it was too late for him to start over. He had already established a stable and important role in the community and does not wish to give that up. Religion and family also kept lives from being saved. I was in the show Fiddler on the Roof and the same thing happened to those characters as the ones in Night. The people were forewarned of coming danger but they ignored those warnings until it was too late. In Fiddler on the Roof, there is a town of Jews that is ultimately emptied out by order of the Russian czar. From the research I did during that show, learning about my character and the Jewish people as well as their traditions, customs, and ideas, I can honestly say that there is nothing more important to a Jew than their family, and beyond that, God. Some of Elie's family could have been saved if they were willing to part from each other, but the ties of the family were too strong for that to happen. Also, many people held faith, possibly too much faith, in God and the belief that he would not allow anything bad to happen to them. They truly believed everything was alright and as soon as the war was over life would go back to normal. They honestly felt the intentions of the soldiers and police were good and that everything that was occuring was for their own good. Only when it was too late did they realize death was on its way to snatch them up in its cold, terrifying hands and take them away from the world.

  2. The most ironic aspect about this chapter is the fact that the Jews of Sighet could have escaped had they not been so optimistic. When Moshe the Beadle miraculously escapes being killed with other Jews, he warns everyone about the terror ahead. Instead of listening to him, they credit him to be a madman, believing that the Jewish population is to wide scale to be eradicated. Despite being given a warning, the Jews not only ignore it but continue to believe life will resume to normality after the war is over. Also, when the Jews are moved to the ghettos, they actually enjoy dwelling together, calling it a "peaceful and reassuring" atmosphere (9). They fail to realize that matters are intensifying. They constantly tell themselves that all will be well, and that these restrictions on Jews is only temporary. Had the Jews been less optimistic, they could have possibly prevented the Holocaust. They trusted in mislead hopes when they should have focused on reality.

  3. Everybody told me they loved this novel. As I asked more questions about it, all I heard was that it is very elaborate on the details and that there is a lot of imagery. Reading the forst chapter, I never thought that the details and imagery would come so soon. On page four of the novel Wiesel describes the story Moshe the Beadle:

    "The Jews... were made to dig huge graves. And when they had finished their work, the Gestapo began theirs. Without passion, without haste, they slaughtered their prisoners. Each one had to go up to the hole and present his neck. Babies were thrown into the air and the machine gunners used them as targets" (Wiesel 4).

    This was very disturbing for me to read. And it was just one paragraph, I could not even stand it. How could the Gestapo do that? They did not even hesitate one bit in pulling the trigger. They made them dig their own graves and then killed them all of a sudden. And the babies? How could they have done that? For me, they have no hearts. Who would have the strength to throw a baby into the air and watch them be gunned down by machine guns? They must have had a lot of hatred or some kind of intenese feeling to give them the strength to do that. Its just so disturbing knowing that there are people like that then... and even NOW! It just shows me and reminds me how much hate and violence there is in the world.