Flames Motif in the book 'Night' by Elie Wiesel

Essay by sillycanuckHigh School, 11th grade April 2006

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It's strange how contrasting the idea of flames can be. At times they are associated with warmth, happiness, light, families gathered around a hearth and really all the happy feelings in the world but then again the flipside is this book. If one were to come into this story with these ideas about what fire symbolizes, their perception of such would quickly change form. Even without getting that far into the story, one can already begin to see the extensive use of flames, and at the same time they realize the horror that is wrapped around this concept. Innocent humans being sent to crematories daily- women, children, even babies- and all the survivors of such a fate are left with is the sight of those flames. Those flames, which are closely linked with death in this story, that stare at them every day; "Here the word furnace was not a word empty of meaning: it floated on the air, mingling with the smoke.

It was perhaps the only word which did have any real meaning here. (47)"

But then again another word closely linked with fire would be control, and the fact that flames can tend to rage uncontrollably if not closely attended. This idea brings about the thought that flames do have two completely contrasting sides about it, but how it is used is controlled by the attendee. On one side, a family may use it to light their hearth and thus bring about warmth and comfort to their home, but it can also be used in such a way that contradicts the happy feeling, the way it is used in this book. The last thing associated with the flames in this book is warmth or any kind of happiness, but instead quite the opposite in that it is...