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In Elie Wiesel’s horrifyingly real, raw memoir Night, he develops a very strong central idea surrounding the significance of identity; he makes it very notable that one’s identity can be easily influenced and changed subject to your environment and personal hardship. From the beginning to the end of the book, we follow Wiesel along his journey of surviving through the holocaust, struggling to keep a hold of his identity and his deterioration of faith in God. We watch him evolve from an ambitious, devout Jewish boy to a broken and downtrodden shadow of his former self, embodied by privation and brutality.

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In Wiesel’s memoir, he uses a great deal of motifs to express the main idea of identity, a few of the most significant being, night, his blossoming relationship with his father, and his progressive loss of faith. It is believed that one of God’s first actions was the creation of light, which he called day, and darkness, which he called night. In this case, night elaborately represents the darkest time in Elie’s life and the darkness that completely enveloped his identity. “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp…” (Wiesel 34). This quote sets the pace for what is to come, the first night in camp already has Elie feeling enervated. This is an indelible night that foreshadows a long road of despair and anguish, being that the basic outlines of his identity have already been stripped of him. Eliezer’s use of night as a motif illustrates the lack of illumination in the camps, in other words, the dehumanization and unethical treatment of the Jewish people. The night is dark, unclear, and lacks lucidity, representing Elie’s gradual loss of identity, lack of clarity of who he is becoming, and dark hopeless nights. Elie’s use of his relationship with his father as a motif represents a string of hope and motivation carried on, and his father was the only part left of his identity. Wiesel’s relationship with his father grows inexplicably stronger as the book goes on, because of what the camps have made of him, his only incentive to live solely became his father. “As for me, I was not thinking about death but about… not being separated from my father.” (Wiesel 82). Elie’s father is the only person that he can identify with; they have endured so much together, that to be separated at this point would completely deter Elie from his faith and any last desire to live. Elie’s father is almost his backbone of humanity and sentiment, without him he feels as if there is no reason to live, he most likely would have become emotionless and even more broken had his father not been with him. His father taught him patience and vulnerability like he had never experienced before. Finally, Elie’s loss of credence in God is one of the most noteworthy motifs. He grew from a puritanical and high-spirited boy to a shattered soul, who vaguely believes in God. His ambitions ran wild with exhilaration to learn of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah as we observe at the beginning of the book but progressively, as he endures the holocaust, his faith runs scarcely thin. “But look at these men whom You have betrayed, allowing them to be tortured, slaughtered, gassed, and burned, what do they do? They pray before You! They praise Your name!” (Wiesel 68). After all that Elie has witnessed, people being burned, hanged, tormented, and tortured; he is nearly incapable of pursuing his faith in God. Eliezer’s faith in a God who was once loving and fair has been murdered, his loss of faith conveys how your identity can be inhibited and misshapen by experiences and your environment. Elie’s piousness was once a sacred part of his identity, and for it to be lost, shows the real power and effect that the camps had on him as a person.

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