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Comparing Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Night by Elie Wiesel

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Essay Preview: Comparing Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Night by Elie Wiesel

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Survival is the struggle to remain alive and living. This theme of survival is present on both Elie Wiesel's novel, "Night", a terrifying record of Elie Wiesel's memories of the death of his family, the death of his own innocence and his despair as a deeply observant Jew confronting the absolute evil of man, and "Fahrenheit 451", a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury in which a fireman once complacent with skating through his life comes to terms with the fact that he is not really living, and then begins to search for the truth and happiness missing in his life, engaging in a battle for survival in the process. The characters Elie from "Night" and "Guy Montag" from "Fahrenheit 451" have no choice but to find a way to escape the oppressive societies in which they live in and change their way of life in the process, no matter what the cost.

In Elie Wiesel's "Night", Elie was a shy young boy from Sighet, who had to leave his town and ended up losing his entire family because of the need to survive the oppressive society he lived in. Similarly, Guy Montag from Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451", had to run away from the oppressive society leaving behind his wife and friends. In the society in which Montag lives, it is illegal to own books therefore the firemen search houses constantly and burn any books that they find. Also in "Night", the SS German soldiers come into towns and round up all the Jewish citizens to take them to concentration camps where they will work laboriously or be sent to gas chambers or into the fire.

Fire is a tool of removal for both novels. In "Fahrenheit 451" the fire burns the books, removing the ability for the men and women to read them and create their own opinions and perspectives. Likewise, in "Night", the Germans use the fire to rid of the unuseful Jews. The Germans are trying to create a utopian society and therefore have to be rid of the ones they consider to be impure. The fire represents purity too in "Fahrenheit 451" because the firemen are trying to prevent anyone from learning new things and becoming knowledgeable of what they could be capable of. Therefore they must destroy all books.

Although the novels are similar, the feelings of the characters after they escaped the oppressive society were very different. In Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451", Guy Montag escaped with his books, and felt like a free man. Guy could commence a new life with his new knowledge and escape from the oppression of the fire and the burning of the books. However, in "Night" Elie Wiesel felt the exact opposite. When the war was over and he was a free man, there was no way he felt any happiness. He felt dead inside, "from the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me". He did not feel happiness for how could he? He lost everything close and dear to him. It was



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