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Reasons To Teach 'Night' by Elie Wiesel

November 7, 2017

/ by

Jeff Hersh


Night, originally published in 1956, is Elie Wiesel's personal, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps in 1944-1945, the final year of the Holocaust.


The harrowing and graphic nature of Wiesel’s experience can make it a difficult read for students. However, it’s considered a masterpiece and an essential text to study as it touches on many crucial themes and lessons.


The text is an entry point for historical studies, personal writing, and important discussions about survival and evils found within humanity. It can serve as an entry point for looking at the past, analyzing the present, and considering the future.


Here are four reasons why Night is an important text for students to study:




Elie Wiesel’s experience is an artifact of history. His writing allows readers to understand and share the terror, fear, and pain that was inflicted upon millions of people. For the teacher, it’s an opportunity to challenge students while equipping them to handle what’s happening in the world today.




Elie Wiesel created a first-hand account of history with his memories of the horror that was the Holocaust. This teaches students the importance of remembering events and experiences, whether horrific, joyful, complex or fascinating. Learning from history is a way to make better choices and be on alert for potential troubles.




A more difficult lesson is trying to understand how Elie Wiesel’s experience was even possible. The book looks humanity’s evil in the face, begging today’s students to look at current world news and events for similarities and differences. It encourages students to ask important questions: How could this happen? How could this happen again? What can I do to make sure it never does?




The book also includes lessons on the human condition to survive within its candid pages of Wiesel’s experiences. It’s crucial for kids to be able to marvel at the act of survival and what that means for one’s own faith.


This book continues to be taught because of all these valuable lessons. Depending on the grade level, the topics and themes can be modified accordingly. Themes range from history and horrific realities of the Holocaust to the philosophies of evil and survival.


Castle Learning offers an entire unit of questions to supplement teachers’ lessons as they teach this essential text.


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