Night  (The Night Trilogy, #1) Night discussion


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"too depressing"?

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message 1: by Aly (new) - rated it 5 stars

Aly I agree, that seems a strange way to review a book that is obviously going to be about a difficult topic. As far as that goes though, I think ELie does an amazing job of truly telling it like it was, raw and all.


Debbie Trahan I would describe the memoir as enlightening, and while there are certainly dark moments, there is triumph in the end because Elie Wiesel can look himself in the mirror and respect what he sees - he managed to honor and love his father during a horrific time, unlike many of the young men with whom he shared his torture and captivity. He didn't kill his father for a piece of bread.


Pandora I actually took the plunge and read through the whole trilogy. Night, The Accident, and Daybreak. It was a tough read but, I was glad to have done it. After reading the trilogy I was in the perfect frame of mind to fall to be wow by Victor Frankel's Man Search for Meaning.


Sabah It was as Debbie said, enlightening. This read came in the time of my obsession with the Holocaust, a few months ago I used to spend a lot of time reading about the topic, watching survivor video's on YouTube, And to my surprise during my search I found the name of this book, which I suddenly remembered seeing my brother reading at home. So I picked it up and read it.
When I was done I remember just lying down for a few minutes and embracing this memoir. I don't know what to say exactly, it is very depressing In a way, but I believe the depression came from my soul, not the short threaded sentences. This book was enlightening sure, but it isn't a "read" book. It's one of those books that you read because you believe you will be a better person, and that may be right. Anyways, I have NO idea why I just said ALL that.

Bottom Line : Interested in Holocaust, read and you will be depressed, not very interested I don't think so. Although I am no psychic of what people like and dislike.

Pandora Kat , Interesting you mention Frankel's Man Search for Meaning, If I'm not mistaken I believe it was later exposed to be a hoax, If you can get back to us with feedback when you're done that will be much appreciated :)


Pandora Could you please explain what you mean as a by saying Frankel hoax? Granted I have a beat up library copy but, even when I google it I could get no informtion about a hoax. How can it be a hoax? It is the second most widley book in the Washington Holocaust Museum in Washington. It is also the foundtion of a major school of psychotherpy.

I have finised the book. I actually read Wiesel's trilogy awhile ago and followed up with the Frankel's book. When I said, I read Daybreak I hqad meant Dawn. The Accident has two titles the other being Daybreak.

Man's search for Meaning was one of the most powerful books I had ever read. After reading Wiesel's triolgy I wasn't sure if I would want to met him. I would though had loved to have met Viktor Frankel. His philosophy runs along much of what I have learned in life which is you can't control life. However you do have the power to control your reaction to life and that is where freedom lies and the ability to always be fully human.

This is rough analysis that I'm picking up from looking at my notes that I have made in the book. I do also remember that it was this book that lifted me out of the depression Wiesel had put me in.

Just recently finished The Book Thief. The ending was quite a kick in the emtional gut. It was smart to have the book narrated by death. Otherwise I think it would have been unreadable.

A rather different Holocaust memior is In My Hands. Which is the story of how a young polish woman (she is only in her early twenties by the end of the book) hid about 12 jews in the basement of a Nazi's officer.


message 6: by M (new) - rated it 4 stars

M The most important truths in the world are depressing.


Eric Jay Sonnenschein The paradox that life walks with death is the most depressing fact we must face. That only depresses us because we believe that we love life. However, we spend a good deal of our lives wondering when it's going to improve, when we're going to finally do what we want, or even when the fun begins. These questions do not get answered definitively. So, life walks with death, and life walks with love and hate and boredom and agony.

But when I think of NIGHT, which I have read several times, I can't see life as a beloved object or as a perpetual annoyance. I try to find something cautionary in this little book, a lesson to be learned. Even that eludes me. I guess NIGHT is in that special category of literature that defies the easy take-away. It is not an allegory--A symbolizing B-- or a parable with a moral that I can stick in my wallet and live by.

NIGHT has no uplifting end. If anything, it stands as a kind of metric--how much suffering can a person endure and survive and then describe? And how much can we accept and understand? And will it make any difference to the future of humanity by preventing genocide? I believe Elie Weisel would want NIGHT to be a kind of vaccine against hatred. The problem is that the people most likely to kill are the ones least likely to read NIGHT. That is the worst kind of paradox.


message 8: by Ren (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ren I think it's more of a reality check. We're so spoiled to our type of society that we sometimes are blinded to such possibilities of this ever happening again. In truth, there are several incidences of genocide around the world, and there are still concentration camps. Wiezel wants to remind us of that. Sometimes the only way that we can be reminded of it is to be "pulled into" the gravity of it all and realize that not all stories end up with a knight in shining armor to save the day; there are some stories where the "good guys" do not triumph over the bad. This is real life. He's calling for a generation to help fight this evil that has ravaged cultures throughout time.


Roxanne I wonder, did you think it would be a happy read? This book, as most Holocaust tomes, lead me to the central question of my life...what would I do? would I fight? would I acquiesce? would I do anything they asked to stay alive? would I refuse and die? would I simply go along, believing it would end and justice would prevail? cannot say...
I do know for certain, WE MUST NEVER FORGET


message 10: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Jay Sonnenschein Yes, NIGHT does force me to ask such questions of myself. And I used to be so angry at the Jews of Sigret for being so apathetic or sanguine about what their fates. But then I have to be candid with myself. I am a creature of habit. Most people are. And we grow fond of our way of life, the warmth and familiarity of our homes and communities. How many people see a storm cloud on the horizon and immediately prepare to go indoors? Most people try to ignore it and get on with their activities. But having read NIGHT, I think my antennae might be out if such a political party started to rise. I hope that I would rise to the challenge.


Sabah Really sorry, I've mistaken Man's search for meaning with Fragments, by Wilkmorski. Normally I would've made sure about what I was writing about but for some reason I didn't this time. Looks like I've learned my lesson. Hope there's no harm done :).


Courtney The entire WWII event was depressing. ESPECIALLY the Holocaust of the Jewish race. I really enjoyed reading Night (read it in High School and I still remember it 8 years later). Yes it was depressing, but he told it like it was and there really wasn't a whole lot of room for lightness. I thought his writing style was fabulous and I zipped right through it.

If anyone wants another book about WWII and the Holocaust from a different point of view, try The Book Thief. I had a very difficult time with it because of the writing style but I know others who loved it. This book might be considered depressing as well. Good luck!


message 13: by Eric (new) - rated it 5 stars

Eric Jay Sonnenschein You know, I saw "Life is Beautiful" and thought,"This does not do justice to the holocaust." Yes, the actor/director wrote some touching and comic scenes and his performance was affecting. I understood that he meant no harm. It just seemed naive to give the holocaust even a spoonful of sugar. That bitter medicine will never go down.


Roxanne The idea that there are those who dare to believe such massacre and destruction never occurred is the most alarming factor.


Athena I think it was an amazing read. Depressing yes but not depressing enough for me to out it down. Wanted to find the happy ending. I think the part that got to me the most was the fast that his father died only what a few days before Elie was freed? I honestly say I started crying when he woke up and found his fathers bed replaced with someone else.


message 16: by Ki (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ki ❝The Book Scavenger❞ Honestly yes it was depressing but, even when you read what the book was about then you should have known that it was going to be. The book was depressing but it didn't have any pictures. It was an amazing read though and it certainly gave me a new perspective of how things went. I cried alot through this book. Did anybody know that he has a Dawn and Day book? Dawn Dawn (Night, #2) by Elie Wiesel and Day Day (Night, #3) by Elie Wiesel


Roxanne just read Sarah's Key incredible story


Roxanne BUT it certainly was a question that got us all talking


message 19: by Jacinta (new) - added it

Jacinta i loved this book because it gave me a real image as to what really happen to them.


Mary JL I'm with Janie in message 18. The depressing thing is the story IS true and the Holocaust happened.


Brandy It was the Holocaust, of course it's depressing. It was the reality of it.


Zakari I think the part when Elie is talking to the man in the hospital is a really impacting moment and of course it's depressing. The part where the man tells Elie he has more faith in Hitler than in his God and Elie asks, "Why?" The man answers, "Because Hitler has kept all of his promises, all of them, to the Jewish people." It really made me sad...

And I was only reading this book because we're doing a Holocaust unit in my Language Arts class. Still, I think it was a good read.


message 23: by Kaitlyn (last edited May 05, 2011 10:25AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kaitlyn Ware Yes this book was depressing because just to know that your family is dead. I just want to cry when I hear them because I love my family.


message 24: by Kendal (last edited May 09, 2011 05:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kendal Johnson I think this topic in general is going to come out like that. The Holocaust is a very serious topic that shouldn't be taken light heartedly and Elie did an amazing job in really getting this across to his readers.
His ability to re-tell his story in such great detail was amazing, and I thought the book was amazing. The Holocaust will always be a subject that I love to learn about.


Genia Lukin The whole notion of "too depressing" put me in mind of the people who refuse to go to a holocaust museum because they can't take it.

Well, gee, too bad. The people who were there were no less sensitive and delicate, no less affected emotionally. At the least we can do them the honour of not burying our heads in the sand about it. We can afford a few days of depression in our mostly decent lives.


Zakari Well said!


Jessica I went through many different while reading this book for school. I feel that this book is a bit on the depressing side, but I also think that Elie truly opened my eyes to see how cruel people were treated.


Zakari Yes, a lot of people really didn't have any idea as to what happened. I thought I knew quite a bit, but nope! Elie proved me wrong.


aPriL does feral sometimes Yes, depressing, but useful. It's a warning in the manner a hunter tutors his children in the realities of killing or a farmer teaching his kids in the realities of taming raw nature to survive and losing sometimes. In this case, the lesson is what is possible with human nature. I agree with previous comments that we must not forget.


Jessica Zakari wrote: "Yes, a lot of people really didn't have any idea as to what happened. I thought I knew quite a bit, but nope! Elie proved me wrong."

That is EXACTLY how I felt! I think this book was absolutly necessary, because without the reminder of the Halocaust I think that it could/would happen all over again.


Zakari Yes...I remember that my Language Arts teacher told my class that Elie never meant to write a memoir, but I think he did to let everyone know. I think most of the Holocaust survivors wrote memoirs to remind the people of today to never let it happen again.


Jessica Zakari wrote: "Yes...I remember that my Language Arts teacher told my class that Elie never meant to write a memoir, but I think he did to let everyone know. I think most of the Holocaust survivors wrote memoirs ..."

Yeaaa! Our class had a like thirty minute discussion of why he wrote it and that was the main point of it.


Young Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. ~ George Santayana


Roxanne as the survivors taught us, we must LIVE so NOone forgets...ever


Chanda We teach this a a unit of study in 10th grade English. yes it is depressing, but we have to learn from our past in order not to repeat the same horrendous mistakes. I have been teaching this for three years now and I learn something new every year in my research to be a better teacher of the Holocaust in Literature.


Amethyst This book is sad, but it's history! Always know your HISTORY!!!!


Georgie A depressing book? Imagine being there. An important and beautifully written book.


**Carla** I read this book about 10 years ago in English class, the whole class had to read it. I thought it was so amazing and to this day I still remember it very much. I liked it so much then that after reading it with our next assignment in class we got to pick our own book of choice and i ended up picking the second book Dawn by Elie Wiesel and it was also amazing. If you have read Night and liked it read Dawn too. As others have said yes may depressing but it is a part of history and the book is written beautifully. I have not yet read the third book Day but I think I will now here in the near future.


Melisa I wouldn't take it as too depressing based on the fact that it is a true story. I cried reading this book and it made me really think about my family and how much they mean to me, it is a book of power, not a book of depression and I myself am talking from a survivors* point of view. *(Not WW2 but the genocide of Bosnian Muslims).


message 40: by Cassie (last edited May 28, 2011 12:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cassie I completely agree with Debbie saying it is an "enlightening memoir." Although, compared to other Holocaust literature I have come across, it is far from depressing. The book This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski, is a work that blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction. MANY of the short stories in this book are actually true and are written in tragic and horrific detail. These stories paralyzed me as I moved about my days while studying this text for a Holocaust Literature class I was taking. In addition, The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick, which is a fiction piece, is unbelievably moving considering how short it is. So to answer your question: Is Night "too depressing?" Absolutely not; On the contrary, it is enlightening, beautifully written, and has a happier ending than most other Holocaust Lit...


RETRODOLL It's a book about the Holocaust -- the subject matter is going to be depressing. that's a given. I do think it is a story of survival though. But I hope people weren't expecting a Harry Potter style fantasy tale. C'mon.


Kevin I remember teaching this to 10th graders, and going to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles after having finished it. The whole experience had a profound affect on the students and myself. It is a hard book to get through, and although it chronicles the utter horrific conditions Wiesel faced, the fact that the man survived is a miracle. As a part of history, it begs to be discussed.


Melissa Genia wrote: "The whole notion of "too depressing" put me in mind of the people who refuse to go to a holocaust museum because they can't take it.

Well, gee, too bad. The people who were there were no less sens..."


Well said!

I read Night in school and Mans Search for Meaning when teaching the Holocaust. A few years later I met a survivor on my visit to the Vad Yashem in Isreal. She held my hand with a tattooed arm and pointed out people and shared her experiences while looking at the pictures. She was from the Krakow ghetto and sent to Auschwitz. I will never forget that or looking for Anne Franks grave in Bergen Belsen. If you think the books are depressing...go to a Holocaust Museum or a concentration camp. Once you see those places the stories you have read will haunt you.


Georgie Remember too that we will be the last generation who have actually met survivors from the holocaust and heard their stories first hand. There are only a handful left now. It's up to us to pass the horrors - and the lessons - on to the next generation. Wiesel's book does this too.


Daniel Klinkhammer I don't really understand how someone could read this book and NOT expect it to be depressing. The book is a memoir of Wiesel's life and how the Holocaust separated and destroyed his family. It isn't supposed to be a happy book... Like, what? I don't get it.


message 46: by Red (last edited Jun 10, 2011 09:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Red Haircrow I gave it 5 stars I think. Elie Wiesel's memoirs always stand out both for it's a straightforward style, but also because of the psychological aspects he chose to include.

I see two sides to this discussion. I can understand how it can be overwhelming for some readers, and why some would choose not to read it. It can affect you very deeply emotionally and have ramifications afterward some might prefer to avoid. If they know that will happen, I've no issue with their avoiding it. I don't think they should rate it badly simply because it is depressing or it was too much for them. I believe they should respect the messenger and message.

I've visited most of the former concentration camp sites, and anyone who has also, know utterly what feeling you get walking across the killing fields, looking into the ovens, the barracks, the prisons. You never forget, and you vow to keep it from happening again. Not everyone can go, but books like these can transport you there and help you gain that strength.

My own review of the work:

Just thinking of people in the modern age, who might have endured suffering, pain and agony and understandably may have been terrible, unspeakable, unthinkable, yet who still have had the opportunity to read this book, have a computer with internet connection and then type up and post a review of it...yet can still critique writing style and include a dismissiveness based on that?

That leaves me speechless but reaffirms my observation that many of those who have not really suffered the unimaginable, yet have such access, continue to be the ones to negatively or poorly rate a work of personal, agonizing minimalism which contains such profound revelations and truth.

I stopped to reread "Night" this week, and it places in great perspective whatever mundane pain, thought or complaint I might have in life right now, in general. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't negate anyone's current situation, but it does give you a wider range in which to observe your own life.

I am a student of WW2 and Holocaust literature and history. I am also a person who was born and spent much time in Germany interacting with and interviewing those who remember firsthand, or those who were 1st gen survivors or ones who directly remember on a variety factors: NOT just because their parents might have been involved, but those who survived and endured the "survivors guilt" that maybe they shouldn't have.

One of the things I've noted is that, because the events have replayed to the level of infinity in their minds, sometimes when they recount, it does sometimes come across as bloodless, or too cool. This is part of the psychological mechanisms of the brain which enact to protect that person. Sometimes the level of self-absorption and intentness of having some kind of entertainment from works of horrific history, or a desire to learn of ugly history but not really wishing to "know" of it, actually horrifies me.



Natalie Sue I had been avoiding reading this book for years until recently when I was forced to read it for school. The reason I didnt want to read it was exactly becasue I was afraid it would be very depressing. Ultimityly it is a very sad book. There's just no wy to make the Holocaust sound cheerful but it's really a book that everyone should read once. I don't regret reading it.


Ilene Holocaust literature is often very depressing. The more I have read of it, the more I find it difficult to maintain reading about it. Nothing I read truly gives me any insight as to how man's inhumanity to man can reach such depths of depravity and evil. No words can truly say what led people in Europe to behave this way and I don't think there will ever be a good answer to the question of how this part of history actually happened.


Melissa Ilene wrote: "Holocaust literature is often very depressing. The more I have read of it, the more I find it difficult to maintain reading about it. Nothing I read truly gives me any insight as to how man's inhu..."

It is unfortunate and unfathomable how it happened. Unfortunately it did and does continue in Africa, and probably others. If you have a hard time reading, imagine having lived through it, and be thankful you didn't have to.


Ilene That's the problem with it in part. I always wonder what I would have done in the same position as many of the writers. I feel that I wouldn't have lasted a day under such depraved and evil treatment. I have been reading about the holocaust since my teens and continue to do so...and I try to read new and different angles about what transpired and how these people were able to go on with their lives.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Night (other topics)
Dawn (other topics)
Day (other topics)

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Jesse Cozean (other topics)