Of Trauma In Night, By Elie Wiesel And Primo Levi

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Trauma was originally a Greek word that solely meant a physical injury or wound, however that term evolved into a concept that referred to the emotional and psychic impact that hurtful experiences can have on a person (Kim, David). This term has a close association with the Holocaust because those who were victims of the Holocaust experienced trauma, such as authors Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi. Both Jewish men experience similar traumatic events during their time in the concentration camp, but their outcomes from them are somewhat different. According to Sigmund Freud’s Remembering, Repeating and Working-Through, a patient works through the trauma by repetition; both authors repeatedly wrote about their experiences in the Holocaust which resulted in memoirs such …show more content…

In this paper I will argue that through the use of diction, tone, and symbolism both authors convey the emotional toll and psychic impact of traumatic events, such as witnessing a hanging and having someone close to them die, which deeply influences the readers interpretation of the memoirs. In Wiesel’s Night the build-up of trauma is correlated with his gradual loss of faith in God, especially when he witnesses the hanging of a child. The author explains that he had grown accustom to watching the hanging of prisoners in the concentration camp, in fact he mentions being unaffected by these occurrences. This is not the case when he witnesses the hanging of a young pipel who has been commended to death for keeping his silence over the crimes of his commanding Oberkapo. Wiesel’s diction in Night is emotional for the most part; this is particularly true for the passage where he describes witnessing the hanging of the pipel. For example, he describes the boy as “sad-eyed angel” who “was pale, almost calm, but was biting his lips as he stood in the shadow of the gallows” (Wiesel 64). The monosyllabic words he uses to describe the child are easy to comprehend, which amplifies the

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