Night

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Fire Symbol Analysis

Fire Symbol Icon
Madame Schächter's visions of fire, after she has gone mad during the train ride to Auschwitz, are symbolic of the Nazi's power to deliver death to many of the Jews riding with her in the cattle car. When the train arrives at the death camp, the prisoners see fire leaping from the chimneys of the crematoria, where many of them will be burned. Later, Eliezer sees babies and children thrown into a fire burning in a ditch. In many religious teachings fire has the power to cleanse or to erase evil. For instance, God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush before helping the Jews escape Egypt in Exodus. But in Eliezer's experience it is the Nazi's, not God, who wield the firepower, another example of how Eliezer's traditional concepts of justice and divinity are fundamentally altered by his experience during the Holocaust.
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Fire Symbol Timeline in Night

The timeline below shows where the symbol Fire appears in Night. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...hysterically. On the third night of the journey, she screams that she can see a fire and wakes everyone up. (full context)
Inhumanity Theme Icon
...son try to console Madame Schächter, but she continues to say that she can see fire, a furnace. The rest of the people's nerves are near the breaking point. Some young... (full context)
Chapter 3
Inhumanity Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Guilt and Inaction Theme Icon
...tells his father he will run towards the electric fence instead of dying in the fire. His father can only weep. Someone begins to recite the Jewish prayer for the dead—the... (full context)