“Character knowledge, of heartbreak to hope. Throughout

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

” Helen KellerThis statement is supported throughout history by thousands of people who made a name for themselves by rising out of their trials, to be remembered and become something so much greater than their adversity. For instance Albert Einstein couldn’t speak until he was four years old and, yet he developed the theory of relativity, which many of us still can’t wrap our heads around. Benjamin Franklin’s parents could only afford to keep him in school until his tenth birthday.

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This didn’t stop him from pursuing his education. He taught himself by reading books, and eventually went on to invent the lightning rod, bifocals, and become one of the founding fathers of the United States. Another example is of Beethoven, one of the most renowned musicians through history, lost his hearing and yet continued to compose some of his greatest works.

Through difficulties, these people have not only shown their determination to survive, but their ability to thrive. In the novel Night, Elie Wiesel shows the development of determination and how it helped him overcome the horrors of the Holocaust, through the transitioning of innocence to knowledge, of heartbreak to hope. Throughout the work Eliezer clings to the fragile things which could make him who he used to be, clings to his innocence, and clings to his love for his father and his religion.         When Elie opened his story as Eliezer he began to show at that time how he viewed the world through such innocence but also of how he thought himself so wise of its ways. Little did he know of the ability of people who were once so kind to him then to become so cruel. He grew up believing everything around him emulated God and that everything was benevolent like Him. Moishe the Beadle was his teacher in mysticism, and throughout this whole novel, Elie shows the constant trials that confront his faith and the trauma which scarred  himself so much that when writing about his experiences he created another version of himself to face it. In exposing the cruelty of the people around him, he also shows that hope and the determination to live can make any situation even the tiniest bit lighter which may be the difference between life and death.

In the novel he separates himself as a narrator and shows little of his emotions, almost as if it had happened to someone else and he was just an observer. But, he was there, and he did survive such atrocities, he lived through it (if it could be called true life), yet Wiesel claimed to be finished with the Holocaust, but the Holocaust has not yet finished with him.         What is so intriguing is the fact that these people had all the signs from Moishe and others telling them of the anguish that awaited them. In the spring of 1944, the Hungarian government fell into German occupation. Despite that the Jews’ believed they would be left to their own devices, but the Germans soon moved into Sighet.

More and more measures are taken by the nazis to dehumanize the Jews—their leaders are arrested, their treasures are seized, and all Jews are forced to wear yellow stars (a brand of sorts as if they were cattle to be sent of to market, good for little else). Eventually, the Jews are confined to small ghettos,behind barbed-wire fences.They were so determined to make the best of a situation that was in such decline, they missed all the warnings. When Eliezer first realized the depravity of their situation, their lack of true tangible hope, he went into shock, watching the things around him as if he were from afar and yet he still went on with the loss of his sisters still fresh in his mind.  So many times, he continued with death and decay entrenched inside him eating up his innocence.

Yet he remained determined to live, avoid the selections and avoid death.         Eliezer at one of the most traumatic experiences, the death of the pipel, asked himself “Where is God?”  To many this may seem a loss of faith, but as Moishe said, “I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions,”  Even in one of his darkest experiences, he still sought God. In a concentration camp designed to suck out life and hope he searched, determined to find what Moishe the Beadle had known; faith is not found in the page of the Kabbalah but in one’s own heart.

Forged and found through great suffering. The trauma he faced may have left him with permanent scars inside and out, but remarkably, it made him stronger, and determined. Determined not only to find and understand God but also to stick by and protect as his father. Through his own willpower, he remained to preserve his father’s life to give his own father hope of survival. He nearly succeeded but the odds overtook him, and his father was lost to dysentery.         The reason Night ends uncompleted is because, as Moishe the Beadle said in the beginning, “There is a certain power in a question that is lost in the answer.” It seems that even though Elie created Eliezer, he wanted to believe that even though life has gone on from that point, it should not have, for time should have stopped after such a tragedy.

The vague unfinished ending also makes it appear as if things could be changed and have been resolved differently than they had been. What readers of this work need to ask themselves is how can they overcome their trials and difficulties? It is accomplished with the determination of willpower and the resolution not to give up. The whole purpose of this book is to stop human beings from turning on one another and taking their anger out on a whole race of people. To stop genocide.

But can something fueled with so much anger, hate, and misconceptions be stopped with the truth? If individuals do not change and nations do not change, the outcomes will not. Who will change? “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas A. Edison


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