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Oprah's Book Club #55: Night


Oprah's Book Club #55: Night Cover

ISBN13: 9780374399979
ISBN10: 0374399972
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion
1. Compare Wiesels preface to the memoir itself. Has his perspective shifted in any way over the years?

2. In his Nobel lecture, presented in 1986, Wiesel writes of the power of memory, including the notion that the memory of death can serve as a shield against death. He mentions several sources of injustice that reached a boiling point in the 1980s, such as Apartheid and the suppression of Lech Walesa, as well as fears that are still with us, such as terrorism and the threat of nuclear war. Will twenty-first-century society be marked by remembrance, or by forgetting?

3. How does the author characterize himself in Night? What does young Eliezer tell us about the town, community, and home that defined his childhood? How would you describe his storytelling tone?

4. Why doesnt anyone believe Moishe the Beadle? In what way did other citizens around the world share in Sighets naïveté? Would you have heeded Moishes warnings, or would his stories have seemed too atrocious to be true? Has modern journalism solved the problem of complacency, or are Cassandras more prevalent than ever?

5. As Eliezers family and neighbors are confined to a large ghetto and then expelled to a smaller, ghostlier one whose residents have already been deported, what do you learn about the process by which Hitler implemented doom? How are you affected by the uncertainty endured by Sighets Jews on their prolonged journey to the concentration camps?

6. With the words “Women to the right!” Eliezer has a final glimpse of his mother and of his sister, Tzipora. His father later wonders whether he should have presented his son as a younger boy, so that Eliezer could have joined the women. What turning point is represented by that moment, when their family is split and the gravity of every choice is made clear?

7. At Birkenau, Eliezer considers ending his life by running into the electric fence. His father tells him to remember Mrs. Schächter, who had become delusional on the train. What might account for the fact that Eliezer and his father were able to keep their wits about them while others slipped into madness?

8. Eliezer observes the now-infamous inscription above the entrance to Auschwitz, equating work with liberty. How does that inscription come to embody the deceit and bitter irony of the Nazi camps? What was the “work” of the prisoners? Were any of the Auschwitz survivors ever liberated emotionally?

9. Eliezers gold crown makes him a target for spurious bargaining, concluding in a lavatory with Franek, the foreman, and a dentist from Warsaw. Discuss the hierarchies in place at Auschwitz. How was a prisoners value determined? Which pris- oners were chosen for supervisory roles? Which ones were more likely to face bullying, or execution?

10. Eliezer expresses sympathy for Job, the biblical figure who experienced horrendous loss and illness as Satan and God engaged in a debate over Jobs faithfulness. After watching the lynching and slow death of a young boy, Eliezer tells himself that God is hanging from the gallows as well. In his Nobel lecture, Wiesel describes the Holocaust as “a universe where God, betrayed by His creatures, covered His face in order not to see.” How does Wiesels understanding of God change throughout the book? How did the prisoners in Night, including rabbis, reconcile their agony with their faith?

11. After the surgery on Eliezers foot, he and his father must face being marched to a more remote camp or staying behind to face possible eleventh-hour execution amid rumors of approaching Red Army troops. Observing that Hitlers deadliness is the only reliable aspect of their lives, Wiesels father decides that he and his son should leave the camp. The memoir is filled with such crossroads, the painful outcomes of which can be known only in retrospect. How does Wiesel respond to such outcomes? Do you believe these outcomes are driven by destiny, or do they simply reflect the reality of decision-making?

12. In his final scenes with his father, Eliezer must switch roles with him, becoming the provider and comforter, despite advice from others to abandon the dying man. What accounts for the tender, unbreakable bond between Eliezer and his father long after other men in their camp begin fending for themselves? How does their bond compare to those in your family?

13. What is the significance of the books final image, Wiesels face, reflected in a mirror? He writes that a corpse gazed back at him, with a look that has never left him. What aspects of him died during his ordeal? What aspects were born in their place? What do you make of his observation that among the men liberated with him, not one sought revenge?

14. Wiesel faced constant rejection when he first tried to publish Night; numerous major publishing houses in France and the United States closed their doors to him. His memoir is now a classic that has inspired many other historians and Holocaust survivors to write important contributions to this genre of remembrance. What is unique about Wiesels story? How does his approach compare to that of other memoirists whose work you have read?

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

scc1701, October 19, 2013 (view all comments by scc1701)
Today, in the 21st century, the Holocaust is simply something we learn about in history class. Everyone knows about the genocide that occurred throughout World War II. Everyone knows millions of Jews were forcibly taken from their homes and killed, but only those who were victims of the Holocaust can truly understand what went on in the concentration camps.
Elie Wiesel's memoir, Night, gives a vivid description of the terrors of the German concentration camps and both the physical and mental challenges he had to overcome. His writings confirm what many find to horrible to believe. The memoir is an intense, stunning, page-turner, which I recommend to everyone. Night recalls the darkest days of the Holocaust and gives you an outlook on the tragic event which history textbooks are unable to. Through in depth details and insightful questions that make you think, Elie shows you the life altering things he went through. Throughout various passages in the book, Elie is forced to question the strength of his beliefs in his own religion. "For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe chose to be silent. What was there to thank him for (33)?" Throughout the book, Elie asks insightful questions that both shock and intrigue readers. I especially enjoyed the book because of this. Night is a memoir that will force you to consider the unthinkable.
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angel_baby_skater, October 12, 2006 (view all comments by angel_baby_skater)
this book had a part of oening my eyes to what the real world was like and what people have gone through. innocent people were murdered and had gone through things they shouldnt have gone through.....what happend in this book was something that needed to be said and you said it very well.
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(12 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

Wiesel, Elie
Hill & Wang
Wiesel, Marion
Wiesel, Marion
World war, 1939-1945
Holocaust, jewish (1939-1945)
Historical - Holocaust
Personal Memoirs
General Biography
Wiesel, Elie - Childhood and youth
Jews - Romania - Sighet
Concentration camps
Edition Number:
Revised Edition
Edition Description:
Oprah's Book Club
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.24 x 5.5 x 0.47 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Historical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » World History » Holocaust
Religion » Judaism » Holocaust

Oprah's Book Club #55: Night Used Hardcover
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$6.95 In Stock
Product details 144 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374399979 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Wiesel's account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps, including a new preface is which he reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man's capacity for inhumanity to man.
"Synopsis" by ,
A New Translation From The French By Marion Wiesel

Born in Sighet, Transylvania, Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home in 1944 and deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and then to Buchenwald. Night is the terrifying record of Elie Wiesels memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence, and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man. This new translation by his wife and most frequent translator, Marion Wiesel, corrects important details and presents the most accurate rendering in English of Elie Wiesels seminal work.

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