The Effects of Dehumanization in Night, a Novel by Elie Wiesel
“Strip! Fast! L05! Keep only your belts and shoes in your hands,,.”(26), In the memoir MEL! by Elie Wiesel, dehumanization has a strong effect on Elie, his father, and the other prisoners The Holocaust was the persecution and murder of approximately six million Jewish people by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. They were brought to concentration camps then went through forced labor, or were sent to their deaths immediately in a crematory or gas Chamber. During all these, they were treated horribly, lost their rights and had appalling living conditions and little food, A recurring theme in the memoir Mby Elie Wiesel is that dehumanization can make a tough situation a lot harder because they lose their basic human rights, are forced to live in horrible conditions, and lose their individuality.
Dehumanization affects the prisoners because they lost all their rights To begin, one example of their rights being taken is when Elie’s father asks where the bathroom is “ The gypsy looked him up and down slowly, from head to foot. As if he wanted to convince himself that this man addressing him was really a creature of flesh and bone, a living being with a body and a belly, Then, as if he had suddenly woken up from a heavy doze, he dealt my father such a clout that he fell to the ground, crawling back to his place on all fours,“ (29). This shows how the gypsies took away their priorities as human beings, They weren’t granted access to a lavatory, and also got hit when they asked a question. Humans should have the right to use the bathroom and here at the camps they removed those rights Another example of losing their freedom is when they’re commanded to run if they want to go to sleep.
Wiesel writes, “Toward midnight, we were told to run “Faster,” shouted our guards, “The faster you run, the sooner you can go to bed.” (30) The guards were only allowing them to sleep if they ran. They were already exhausted and now being commanded to run if they want to rest, which is another basic right They also knew if they didn’t obey, there would probably be some sort of punishment. The prisoners should be allowed to rest when they are in desperate need of it. The Nazis took away many of the Jews’ basic rights, such as using the bathroom, and going to sleep, which are rights that humans need in order to function, Additionally, the prisoners were belitLled when they were forced to live in horrendous conditions. An example of the terrible living conditions they endured is when they travelled in the ill-equipped cattle wagons which were crowded, hot, and didn’t have any food or drinks.
“Lying down was out of the question, and we were only able to sit by deciding to take turns. There was very little air. The lucky ones who happened to be near a window could see the blossoming countryside roll by After two days of traveling, we began to be tortured by thirst. Then the heat became unbearable,” (18). They were forced to travel in these small cars which did not provide for any of their needs. The Jews were being tortured and were barely able to survive in there. Some died because of the unfit conditions and others became dehydrated and starved. in this quote, Elie says how the heat was unbearable and the thirst was killing them. Another example of the unsuitable living conditions is how they were scarcely fed anything, They got coffee, soup, and bread. Elie describes his day by saying, “ Days passed. In the morning, black coffee. At noun, soup. (By the third day I was eating any kind of soup hungriiyJ At six p,m,, roll call.
Then bread and something. At nine o‘clock, bed.” (32). This example shows how they were not fed enough and had only one real meal, which was soup, They also were forced to live on a schedule, because he said how roll call was at exactly six pm, and bed was at nine. The Jews were forced to live in very inadequate conditions with limited resources such as food, air, space, and free time. Furthermore, the prisoners lost their individuality at the camps because the Nazis took away their possessions and personalities, An example of prisoners losing their own self is when their name is taken away and they get a number tattooed on their arm, Elie recalls, “The three ‘veterans’, with needles in their hands, engraved a number on our left arms. I became A-7713.
After that I had no other name,” (31). This act, of being called a number and losing your own name is really dehumanizing because they no longer have their unique, individual name. They just have a long number, which means nothing to them The prisoners don’t feel like they have anything personal to them because they don’t even have a first name anymore, something that separates each of them A second way of losing their individuality is when they arrive at the Barracks and they‘re forced to remove their clothes and throw them in a pile. “We had to throw our clothes at one end of the barracks. There was already a great heap there. New suits and old, torn coats, rags, For us, this was the true equality: nakedness,”(26).
The prisoners weren‘t allowed to keep any of their personal possessions, including their clothing They have no individual style now, being forced to wear the same outfits. They don‘t have anything to make them unique and their own person. They all are being grouped as one ‘thing’ that needs to be eliminated, as Hitler believed Dehumanization takes away their sense of individuality because they aren’t permitted to have a unique name or possessions. In the memoir Mby Elie Wiesel, a theme that repeats many times throughout the book is that dehumanization can make a tough situation a lot harder because they lose their basic human rights, are forced to live in horrible conditions, and lose their individuality.
The prisoners lost their rights, such as using the lavatories, and sleeping when they‘ve reached the point of utter exhaustion. They also were kept in unfit living conditions where they received an inadequate amount of food and didn‘t have enough space. They also lost their sense of individuality, such as their name and personal items. Dehumanization can make difficult times much harder because there’s nothing left that they can call their own, and they didn’t live in comfortable spaces with their basic rights.