Choiceless Choices In Elie Wiesel's 'Night'

956 Words4 Pages

Brenna Schultz
College Intro to Literature
29 April 2023
Surviving the Impossible The memoir Night tells the story of Elie Wiesel, a studious Jewish teenager, living in Hungary in the early 1940s. He and his family are sent to Auschwitz, a concentration camp. In Auschwitz, Wiesel struggles to maintain his faith, while witnessing other prisoners lose their faith and humanity. While Wiesel was at the camp, he and the other prisoners were faced with many “choiceless choices”, which is a term coined by Lawrence Langer to describe no-win situations faced by Jews during the Holocaust. One of the first choiceless choices Wiesel has to make is to lie about his age. Another choice he had to make is to work or be sent to the crematorium. Lastly, …show more content…

After they arrive at Auschwitz, Elie and his father are greeted by an officer. The officer tells them, “‘Here you must work. If you don’t you will go straight to the chimney. To the crematorium. Work or crematorium–the choice is yours’” (39). When Elie and his father are told this by the SS guard, they do not think they have a choice. They want to live. Elie is holding onto hope, and he thinks that they will be liberated soon, so along with the other prisoners, they decided to work. The Nazis just wanted to see the Jews suffer, so it did not matter whether the Jews were working hard jobs or being burned to death. Elie did not understand this at the time. By choosing to work, Elie stays with his father, and they keep each other safe to stay alive in the …show more content…

He made it out alive. The choiceless choices and being alongside his father helped Elie greatly in this process. If he did not make the choices he did in camp, he would not have made it out alive. By telling the SS officer that he was eighteen, he was not sent to the crematorium to die. Even though choosing to work meant he had to undergo undeniably hard conditions, he did it and made it through. Lastly, by choosing not to fast on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, Elie was able to maintain enough strength to continue working and stay alive. If it was not for these choices and staying with his dad the entire way through, Elie would not have made it out of the camps alive. His father guided him in his decisions and helped him remain safe in such a dangerous area. Even though it seemed impossible to make it out of the Holocaust alive as a Jewish person, Elie Wiesel did it. He was beaten, starved, forced under hard labor, watched many people die, and had to watch his own mother die, and yet Elie Wiesel accomplished the

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