Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter 6 (pages 85-97): Symbolism

What is the symbolism and the reality of Juliek and his violin?


  1. The image of Juliek playing the violin in the crowded barracks is one the most poignant parts of the novel. Throughout the novel, Elie talks about how quite, how silent the barracks are at night. Silence of terror, nightmares, and lost hope. One of the main themes of the novel is sounds that break the silence, just like Madame Schaechter's hysterical screaming,"fire, fire, I see fire". Similarly, Juliek's violin, his playing disrupted the silence, this time filling the hopeless, dark night filled with beauty and poignance: "He played a fragment from Beethoven's concerto. I had never heard sounds so pure. In such a silence." Juliek's music is extremely touching because he puts his whole self into his playing. After being denied his life, humanity, and future by the Nazis and after having becoming emotionally destroyed from his time in the concentration camp, Juliek takes everything that has been denied him and puts it into his music: "He was playing his life. The whole of his life was gliding on the strings: ‹his lost hopes, his lost past, his extinguished future. He played as he would never play again." The words "charred" and "extinguished" reming me of the image of the fiery crematory and show how crudely and inhumanely the Nazis destroyed human life in the concentration camps.

  2. Juliek Symbolically put his soul into the music he makes. After weeks of terrorizing silence, the pure sound of a violin is heard in the deafening silence. Through the many highs and lows of his violin, Juliek light the flame of life that was once blown out by the cruel Nazis. He gives the dyeing and living a moment of peace and clarity through his performance. This is one of the most heart touching parts of the book. Juliek risks his beloved violin to, for a moment, show kindness to those around him. He is like a flame in the night and he truly does lead the men to clarity and hope.

    -Julieth Udozorh

  3. I think that Juliek anf his Violen symbolize the prisoners and their faith. Once Elie had figured out who he was laying on top of, he remembered the person. Elie thought it was kind of odd that Juliek was asking for his Violin in a place like they were in. After Elie had moved and was able to breathe, "[he] could hear only the violin, and itwas as though Juliek's soul were thw bow" (pg 90). The Music that juliek played was like the faith that was hidden inside every prisoner. They didn't think that they believed in God but deep down they all still hoped for his deliverence from this evil. Juliek represented the prisoners as a whole and his music was their faith. It was his music that night that took Elie into a peaceful sleep and even though Juliek died that night, he brought a piece of happiness and normality to the others for a fraction of a second.

    -Michael Salazar

  4. It was like an escape to a sweeter world. A world that Juliek could paint with his harmonic notes. He could express himself through it and could help others with it. He was selfless at that moment when he played his violin for him but also for the others. He worries so much for his violin, desperate as much as he needs a breath of cold air to his lungs. Also the fact that he dared to play Beethoven, which back then was denied because he was a German composer, is much more motivating. Almost as if he were rebelling in his last moments of life. I agree with everyone when they say it symbolized his hope. But the reality is that with the next coming sunrise, Juliek’s breathless body lays next to his silenced and crushed violin. So as lovely as he had hope the previous night, he lost it along with his life that night. But I also think that although his hope may have died, it did not mean that it did inside the others. Juliek died with a cause which is something remarkable to have been remembered by.

  5. Juliek's Violin showed that there can be peace and happiness even in the most darkest of times. It showed that even though people were suffering, they still had something that allowed them to have a piece of solitude and tranquility. His violin and the music he produced gave the other prisoners a feeling of hope, or at least reminded them of life before the camp. It reminded them of a much simpler time when things weren't filled with violence and hatred. Although Juliek died that night, he gave Elie the hope for tomorrow that everyone in the camps needed. Juliek symbolized the hope and faith that was instilled in all of their hearts. He brought them back to Earth and reminded them that they were people and not robots like the Nazis had convinced them. He showed them that things aren't always perfect, but they all knew happiness. He brought them back to their faith and showed them the way to God and that he was still there with them all. That one night that Juliek played his violin left a great impression on all of the prisoners in my opinion.

    ~~Yolanda :)

  6. Juliek loved playing the violin. As they were in the cart transporting them to another awful place Juliek pulled his violin out and in the crowded space started playing a part of a Beethoven concerto. For this young man to find a way out of the lack of air and to play in the darkness gave hope to Elie that someone out there even in the darkness was willing to show the world that they cared. It was poignant how Juliek said his final goodbye, literally poured his soul out in a last song. Juliek’s death was a moment that Elie would always remember for it was a moment of grief, confusion, madness. Elie heard as a friend played his goodbyes and left behind nothing but a body and a broken apart violin.