Night was a word that made me relax by making me think about tranquility or my own cozy bed. That was until I read the book by same title. Elie Wiesel, the author of the book ‘Night’ took me into the era of the Holocaust to show another meaning of night, a miserable fate. By reading the book, I could indirectly experience the life during the Holocaust and learn two big lessons: silence is not the answer and living a normal life is a very grateful thing.
The story begins with the warning from a character named Moishe, who stated that he escaped from the cruel concentration camp. Even though he claimed people need to leave their homes right away to be safe, people did not listen to him. Soon after, Nazis herded out the Jews along with Elie, the main character, and the nightmarish journey ensues. People including Elie arrived at Auschwitz and they eventually arrived in Buna, a work camp. There, anyone who was weakened were put to death. Anyone who resisted were put to death. Anyone who had failed to survive with only one piece of bread a day were put to death. All in one, most of the Jews became inhuman to avoid their inevitable death and the main character, Elie has to suffer all of the crisis to survive.
After reading this book, the first biggest message I learned was that silence can bring harm to many. Elie Wiesel stated, “What hurts the victim most is not the cruelty of the oppressor, but the silence of the bystander.” Even though silence is something that should not be kept, unfortunately, in the story, silence was chosen among the people and it further exacerbated more people’s life. To be specific, with the increase of Anti-Semitism there was a pervasive decimation of the Jews with impermissible defamation of character. Surprisingly, what the whole society chose to do was remain silent about it all. While there was no action to fix the problem, a countless people faced a deep dark night which was an unprecedented terrible pain caused by silence. By reading this book, I now know that there is always a possibility of this great night or even smaller injustices in the future unless people desire the right things by raising their voice and breaking the silence.
Furthermore, the forgotten gratitude in my fast-paced semester could be unearthed after reading this book. “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity,” the author states, “a person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” I absolutely agree that attitude toward gratitude can define a person as it is really important. However, I also admit that so far, I have complained a lot. In retrospect, the Jews during the Holocaust period had literally nothing. They had no house, no family, no freedom and no foods. These to me are too basic to make me grateful. However, because of the lack of these fundamental things, people in Auschwitz deserted their morality and even discarded their parents to have one more piece of bread. The inhuman circumstances resulted in inhuman behaviors. In light of this story, when I looked upon my own life it was full of not only the fundamental things but also love. A piece of bread is not important in my life because there are enough food for me to eat. Instead I was also blessed with the comfort of dealing with a flow of thoughts on morality due to the endless perseverance, guidance and care of the teachers, not to mention the freedom I have to experience diverse opportunities. Nevertheless, I sought for more things for my own growing greed. For most of the time, I was in the midst of complaints, trying to get the things that were not provided to me. When in fact, I already possessed numerous things that satisfied all of the criteria for happiness.
Night. The word that used to mean tranquility now is a word that reminds me of the attitude to seek for the right thing and gratitude. Although it is a word that expresses a miserable history in the past rather than stopping there, I wish to use it to remember the lessons that I learned from the long, nightmarish journey so I can help create a better influence for our future.