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What is the tone of Night by Elie Wiesel?

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Elie Wiesel’s challenging experience in concentration camps during the Holocaust compelled him to write the book Night. Such events leave no room for fun and positivity. The tone that the author used for the book can be described as honest, somber, thoughtful, and mournful.

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Each literary work has its own unique tone. It determines the mood and feelings that a person experiences while reading a book. The efforts of Nazi Germany during World War II were also aimed at exterminating the Jewish people. These actions are known as the Holocaust and can hardly be presented in a positive tone. In the novel Night, Elie Wiesel conveys his experience as a Jew in Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. His fears, feelings, and worries set a dark and mournful tone, and his honest reflections are thought-provoking.

The novel’s tone is mournful since the main character mourns many losses – family, childhood, faith in the mercy of the Lord, and much more. Elie Wiesel is the only one of his family who remains alive by the victory over the Nazis. When he arrives in Auschwitz – the military separates him from his mother and sister. He does not see them anymore. His father dies because of beatings just a few months before liberation. The horrors experienced leave nothing from the protagonist’s childhood innocence and doubt his own faith.

The thoughtful tone is manifested in the fact that the main character often remains alone with his thoughts. He cannot understand the reasons for the officers’ actions, nor why God allows such a thing. Faith is an essential part of the boy’s life before the Nazis’ appearance. Perhaps that is why he does not lose it entirely but rethinks it. Elie still believes in God, but not in his kindness and justice.

Religion is not the only thing that lives in Elie’s thoughts. Under the pressure of fear and instinct for self-preservation, he thinks about the burden of care for his father. The boy is ashamed of such ideas, but the author does not hide them from readers. Therefore, the book also has an honest tone. The protagonist protects his father, although he has little strength. However, concentration camps weaken family ties, and when the SS officer beats his father, fear immobilizes the boy. He does not find the strength to rise and spend the last minutes with his dad.

All these events – war, the extermination of entire peoples, and cruelty set the generally somber tone of the novel Night. It is hard to believe that people are capable of such atrocities. Circumstances make people forget about humanity and only survive. For example, captives are sometimes forced to fight and kill for food. However, such books are important because they remind readers of the wrongness of such a way. They also help to honor the memory of victims of the conflict.

Surprisingly, the tone of the book is not angry or accusatory. Readers may notice moments of anger in the protagonist. He is mad at SS officers, other abusers, and even God, but these feelings do not permeate the book like sadness does. This fact demonstrates the author’s kindness and big heart. His intentions are not to blame but to prevent the repetition of such horrors.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What is the tone of Night by Elie Wiesel'. 3 September.

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