Night Personal Response- Irony of fear

“Fear is an idea-crippling, experience-crushing, success-stalling inhibitor inflicted only by yourself” – Stephanie Melish

Night: This novel takes on the task of addressing and describing the indescribable, through the horrific account of an innocent witness, Elie Wiesel. Through his constant description of night and the loss of day, it establishes a metaphorical expression of the darkness and trepidation of that era. We, as humans, constantly exhibit fear as an elaborate system of self-protection, however, we fail to realize that in our attempts to avoid it, we place ourselves in more undesirable situations- those that completely override our original attempts at self-protection and comfort.

Through the sheer upsurge of fear that exhorts Elie’s father’s decisions, he fails to capitalize on several opportunities that he was bestowed, to save himself and his family from the tortures they later face. He was given the opportunity to take his family elsewhere and begin a new life and a new reality, but he was scared of new; scared of different. This fear of growth and unpredictable change gnawed at and eventually consumed any chance the Wiesel family had to escape the pain and agony that awaited them. How tragically ironic is that? Finding shelter in the mundane routine of their normal lives by dismissing an offer of change was his fearful reaction to being asked to step out of his comfort zone and try something new. However, due to this, he and his family were propelled into a situation, in which fear and constant change becomes the familiarity and normality of their reality. In his attempt to avoid a fear of his, he is inevitably subjecting himself and his family to more fear.

Just like that, his initial fear seems more like a comfort.

In the beginning, there is a persistent mention of the recurring theme of corpses who border the realm of life and death, all suppressed under blankets of fear; suffocating and gasping for air, unable to breathe as they became crippled under its inescapable force. The fear of death morphs these starved, hungry Jews that have been stripped of all life and personality, into walking and breathing corpses. How tragically ironic is that? In their attempts to escape an inevitable death, they accept the torture that is inflicted upon them, that dissolves any remnants of their humanity, until only a corpse-like individual remains. Instead of evading death, they are inviting it in another form, because they are scared to die, or moreover, scared to accept their fate. Initially, the fear of death motivated the actions of the living, until they realized that life is more painful than death.

Just like that, their initial fear seems more like a comfort.

Fear originates from the innate depths of one’s conscience that impels us to clash with our other inner emotions, and usually triumphs over their influence. As our world is being threatened by a raging virus, we can all relate to the feeling of being overcome by fear, which originates from the unawareness of what lies next. This same fear, obviously to different degrees, was manifested in the thoughts and actions of the characters in this novel. People from all over the world are being consumed by fear, not of the virus itself, but of the negative repercussions its spread has brought to various aspects of society. In the attempt to escape and rid themselves of this fear, people are impulsively spending money to stock up on necessities, whether they truly require it or not, without any regard for others. In return, grocery stores are tackling the fear of losing business by increasing the prices to an unrealistic amount, again, without any regards for others. Everyone is fending for themselves, as a result of wanting to conquest all forms of doubt, fear or unknowingness. However, as we strive to be prepared for anything to remove all traces of fear, we are essentially bringing about more fear and more uncertainty. How tragically ironic is that? As grocery stories are being drained of essential items to remove individual fear, more fear emerges in society. What about those who cannot meet the deadly increase of prices? What if we run out of necessities? Through the emptiness of the shelves in stores, fear lodges itself in the heart of society. But the individuals of society that recklessly and obsessively stock up without any regard for others, are the creators of this fear. Those that attempt to reduce fear through spreading fake comforting news, are unknowingly unfurling more fear and uncertainty about the reality of this situation. While escaping our initial fear of uncertainty by taking drastic measures, we are propelling ourselves into a more fearful and uncertain situation.

The measures individuals take to escape the restrains of fear, just captivates them under the clutches of intensified terror and dread. The obsessive race to outrun fear, just results in a longer and more dreadful chase, in which the outcome is unexpectedly sorrowful. Instead of running away from fear and making things worse, why don’t we just face it and deal with it?

How tragically ironic is that?

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3 thoughts on “Night Personal Response- Irony of fear

  1. Dear Amanat,

    Wow. It was an honour to read this piece as you have so clearly communicated the main topic without any hint of fallacy. When I began to read your response, I did not quite comprehend your understanding of fear and it’s irony. In fact, I had created a opposing point of view that I wanted to bring into light through the use of comments. Needless to say, your accurate diction and logical stance has lead me, as a reader, to completely follow your understanding of fear and it’s irony through the well chosen examples from the novel “Night”. I believe that your immense talent in the ability to communicate complex ideals in the most comprehensible way possible was clearly demonstrated in this piece. I also loved the connection you have made with COVID-19 as you are truly correct; the want to escape fear drives people into worse conditions such as the panic buying incident.

    I did feel that there was a break of flow in your writing in the last paragraph when you stated, “But the individuals of society…are the creators of this fear.” I feel that there was a jump into a topic of responsibility of spreading fear; I believe that the focus on the irony should be maintained here. If I am not mistaken, “coerce fear” would mean to “force fear upon”, which I believe is not what you wanted to portray in that second sentence. This does not follow your original statement, which was about the denying of fear(or running away from it) becoming the downfall and the prologue to greater uncertainties and tragedies. I believe that these two sentences could be improved upon for greater understanding from a logical stand point of your piece.

    I love the way you have analyzed the fundamental emotion of fear and identified it’s universal effects on us humans. Reading your piece was a powerful experience and I believe that it is most relevant to the world today. I am so disappointed that I may not be able to be in the same classroom environment to learn from you but I will always know where to look for an inspiration to write. I hope for the quickest recovery to our daily life, and wish for your health and wellness. Thank you for a lovely piece to read to make my time at home less grueling and rather worth its time.

    Sincerely,

    Dai

  2. Dear Amanat,

    I know I have commented on one of your pieces before, but I couldn’t help myself when I read this beautifully crafted response. I never thought about how the Wiesels gradually put themselves in worse situations by trying to remain in their comfort zone. I never thought about how their initial fear became a comfort. The concepts you mentioned are ingenious and elaborately explained, and the connections to the coronavirus really enhance the message you are trying to give across. I was reading awe – how could anyone be genius enough to think of these ideas? Your stylistic choice of repeating the question, “How tragically ironic is that,” added to the mood of this response. I also loved the sentence variety and vocabulary as it kept me engaged while absorbing every line of information.

    I think your ideas are really well thought out, so the only errors I see are grammar and punctuation errors. For example, in this sentence you used “then” instead of “than”, “Initially, the fear of death motivated the actions of the living, until they realized that life is more painful then death.” Also, some of your sentences are run-on sentences or have unnecessary commas, making the sentence confusing to understand. As for your stylistic choices, I feel like you should pick one phrase to repeat, either, “Just like that, their initial fear seems more like a comfort,” or,”How tragically ironic is that?” These simple fixes will perfect your writing and deepen the reader’s understanding.

    For my Night TIQA, I talked about using delusion to remain in your comfort zone and motivate you to keep going, so I connected to a lot of these points. I enjoyed this response and I am excited to be amazed with more of your work. I aspire to reach your level of writing and convey a thought so seamlessly. Hopefully, self isolation ends soon so we could meet again.

    Sincerely,
    Neha

  3. Dear Amanat,
    I know it can be difficult to have to write about a piece such as Night – since oftentimes we as a reader can feel a disconnect from Elie since none of our experiences really parallel his. However, you have written this piece with such confidence and ability that there isn’t a hint of that disconnect that I know can sometimes be present.
    This piece reads excellently well as a loosly-formatted essay, which I think is a very interesting and effective choice on your behalf. You clearly state your thesis in the first paragraph and continually call back to it with relevant evidence. Your claim is only enhanced with every paragraph, and the sentence structure, GUMPS, and decisions you’ve made as a writer are quite spot-on. The repetition of the line “Just like that, his initial fear seems more like a comfort” is another great addition as it also highlights the evidence that you’ve just presented and is a powerful line that really comes back to your thesis regarding fear and self-protection.
    Your connection to the events currently going on in the world were also effective, as it allowed for a much more personal and practical example to be part of the essay. For improvement, I would suggest altering this paragraph to show the duality in our current situation: you make claims about how people being afraid is causing them to be impulsive which impacts society negatively, but I think that perhaps making a more general claim about what this says about human nature during these times would be a good inclusion.
    This was a great piece that worked excellently well as a response to Night, since it was relatively free of errors, distinct, succinct, and relevant. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

    Sincerely,

    Zaid

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