Dehumanization In Night Analysis

Decent Essays
Night: The transgressional dehumanization of the soul

“In the concentration camps, we discovered this whole universe where everyone had his place. The killer came to kill, and the victims came to die” (Elie Wiesel). This alternate universe is nothing but one of destruction: the death of the soul. When one is constantly being beaten down, one no longer desires to live. In Elie Wiesel’s Night, the Jewish people lose their desire to live as a consequence of enduring extreme dehumanization at the hands of the Nazis. The Jews’ desire to live deteriorates through their loss of identity, inhumane treatment, and their loss of dignity. As strong as the Jews are, no one can tolerate the utterly painful dehumanization that was bestowed upon them
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Take that away then life is no longer worth living. Identity is constituted of each and every aspect of someone’s personal expression. Clothing is an important outlet for people to express themselves as an individual. In Night, individualism is brutally striped away from the Jews at Auschwitz. When Eliezer, Chlomo, and the other Jews first enter Auschwitz-Birkenau they “had to throw [their] clothes at one end of the barracks” (32) before being “dragged off to the barbers [where the SS] shaved off all the hair on [their] bodies” (33). Individualism is a basic human necessity that makes us who we are and should be treated as such. Because of this robotization, the Jews “were crying… [using] all their remaining strength in weeping” (33). This sadness marks the beginning of the Jews no longer wanting to live in someone else’s stereotyped perception of who they should be. Another dehumanization method used by the Nazis is fear of personal expression. The Jews live in fear twenty-four hours, seven days a week. They know that if they express their thoughts, they are sure to be beaten. If at any point during your imprisonment …show more content…
The Jews are dehumanized by being denied the right to take a proper shower and to be clean. Eliezer describes the shower conditions as an unsanitary place were “a barrel of foul-smelling liquid stood by the door” (34). Meant for “[d]isinfection. Everybody soaked in it […] at high speed” (34). Living in these dirty conditions will surely destroy someone’s dignity which in change makes them less likely to want to continue to live. Another part of their dignity that is destroyed is their independence. The Jews are used to being independent people who can take care of themselves, but at the concentration camps, the SS make all the decisions. In fact, the bell that runs the operations is one of the things that Eliezer hates the most. His hatred runs so deep that “whenever [Eliezer] dreamed of a better world, [he] could only imagine a universe with no bells” (69 & 70). By striping the Jews of a need as simple as independence, the Nazi’s are dehumanizing them to a point where they do not remember what life was like before Auschwitz. By this point in the novel, Eliezer does not care wither he is alive or dead. The final way in which the Jews lose their dignity and esteem is when they are forced to be naked and exposed. Having people on an equal level is not a bad thing, but the Nazis took it to the extreme, “for [the Jews] it meant true equality: nakedness” (32). This “equality” puts

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