Elie Wiesel incorporates many stylistic elements to accentuate the dark story behind Night. For instance, he foreshadows the tragic fate of the Jewish people when Moishe the Beadle warns the Jews of the fascist cruelty. Another example is the foreshadowing of the crematoria by Mrs. Schächter, who, on the way to Auschwitz, experiences the visions of fire.
The book Night depicts the tragic events of the Holocaust. It mainly focuses on Elie Wiesel’s experiences of the Auschwitz and other concentration camps. There, Elie and his father have to fight for their survival together. The dreadful fate of the Jews during World War II is central to the book. 1.1 million Jewish people died in the camps throughout the war. Night is a story of struggling to find hope in the devastating setting of the camps.
Initially, the extent of the cruelty of the fascists towards Jewish people is unknown to the Jews of Sighet. For the first five years of World War II, their lives are no different from what they were before. It is only when Moishe the Beadle returns to Sighet, the first scary news appears in the town. After surviving death, he warns Sighet of the terrifying fate that the Jews are yet to experience. However, everyone despises him for spreading horrifying rumors because nobody believes them.
Several years later, the Jews of Sighet learn that all this time, Moishe has been telling the truth. However, there is no way back from facing the Holocaust because it is too late. Now the Jewish citizens of the town travel to the camps. They do not yet know the exact destination but already understand that they are to experience dreadful events. For days, eighty people in one train car are suffering from the lack of air and food.
Here the character of Mrs. Schächter is introduced. She is a middle-aged woman who is traveling with her 10-year old son. By mistake, they had to part from the rest of their family. Knowing that this separation is permanent emotionally damages her. She will never be able to find any hope to struggle for survival ever again. In the train car, Mrs. Schächter experiences visions of fire. She screams, focusing everyone’s attention on the fire that only she can see. This scares the people in the train car, and they start attacking Mrs. Schächter to silence her.
Only upon arrival to Birkenau, the Jews understand to the full extent the meaning of Mrs. Schächter’s visions. They see the crematoria and their horrible application to burn children and the weaker prisoners. After that, Elie, his father, and the rest of the prisoners have to do everything to avoid a similar destiny.
Another example of foreshadowing is the yellow stars attached to the Jews in Sighet. They reference the later death of Elie’s father. The Sighet police order all Jewish citizens of the town to wear yellow stars on their clothes. This is made to distinguish them from the rest of the citizens. Elie’s father laughs at this order, stating that the yellow star would not kill him. The author remarks that this is exactly what he dies from.
The image of the yellow star references the star of David, which is a famous Jewish symbol. Elie’s father dies due to his belonging to the culture, which is the subject of atrocious fascist hatred. This is the scary reality that the Jews faced during the Holocaust. Their mass extermination was rooted merely in their identity. In this sense, being Jewish in wartime was the inconceivable reason for their death.