Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Review: Day by Elie Wiesel Part Two

Quite frankly, there is not much of a story in Day. Mostly it is the portrait of a haunted man. Again, it seems written for the sake of catharsis-for the sheer release of removing thoughts from one's head and putting them on paper. It comes across as a journal in the guise of a story. The story does come to something of a conclusion, but mostly it just ends. In proper existentialist fashion, a path away from suffering is suggested without in any way negating the bleak vision of existence. However, there is little indication that Eliezer will take this path-exorcising his ghosts (the memories that haunt him) and opening himself up to others: "Maybe God is dead, but man is alive. The proof: he is capable of friendship" Instead it appears that he will remain in a closed-off state of suffering (self-pity and resentment)
   While the narrative falters and the ending is unsatisfying, Day is not without merit. Not only are there elements of Wiesel's writing that help redeem the shortcomings, we are reminded what traumatic suffering can do to a person. We should leave this book behind with a renewed sympathy for victims of cruelty.

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