Elie Wiesel

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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.

Fire Quotes in Night

The Night quotes below all refer to the symbol of Fire. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Having and Losing Faith in God Theme Icon
Chapter 1 Quotes
Night. No one prayed, so that the night would pass quickly. The stars were only sparks of the fire which devoured us. Should that fire die out one day, there would be nothing left in the sky but dead stars, dead eyes.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire, Night
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes
"Fire! I can see a fire! I can see a fire!"
Related Characters: Madame Schachter (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes
Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible, even these crematories.
Related Characters: Eliezer, Chlomo
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire, Night
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes
Oh, to strangle the doctor and the others! To burn the whole world! My father's murderers! But the cry stayed in my throat.
Related Characters: Eliezer (speaker), Dr. Mengele
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
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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)