Elie Wiesel's Night

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“Those who kept silent yesterday will remain silent tomorrow”. That was what Elie Wiesel said in the original yiddish version of his book Night. Society creates labels for everyone and everything. If people go against the society will be hostile. The hostility of society has made people not speak up when they see something wrong. Society limits so many things that a person could ask the question: How do societal norms limit individuals and the power of words? Societal norms can cause individuals to not speak up when they see something wrong, therefore limiting the power of words and limiting the individual themselves. Individuals may keep quiet because they are frightened of what the consequences may be, of what society says, and because…show more content…
In Night, Elie talks about how he stayed quiet when he was afraid because of the consequences: “...he slapped my father with such force that he fell down and and then crawled back to place on all fours. I stood petrified. What had happened to me? My father had just been struck in front of me, and I had not even blinked. I had watched and kept silent.” (Wiesel 39). Elie did not say anything because he was afraid of what would happen to him if he spoke up. When people in concentration camps spoke up against the oppression and rudeness of the Nazis’, they would be punished, beaten, even hung. So Elie is afraid that if he said something about the guard hitting his father, he would be punished as well. Another example is in Clint Smith’s “The Danger of Silence”. He talks about the consequences that could end up being bad for many people instead of just one. He said: “When the woman at the fundraising gala said ‘I’m so proud of you. It must be so hard teaching those poor, unintelligent kids,” I bit my lip, because apparently we needed her money more than my students needed their dignity.” (Smith). He did not speak up and correct her about how his students were smart because if he did the school would lose the donation/money that the woman was giving them. That would be a bad consequence of him saying something, that would not only affect him though, it would affect the whole school. Also in Clint Smith’s “The Danger of Silence” he talks about he didn’t speak up when he should of: “I spent so much of my life telling people the things they wanted to hear instead of the things they needed to,” (Smith). Smith did not say the things people needed to hear because he was afraid of the consequences of it. He most likely did not tell people what they needed to hear because he didn’t want to upset them, or fear the consequences of what they would do. Related to
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