Comparative Study on Holocaust Portrayal and Society’s Response in The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and Night by Ellie Wiesel
Your Situation Is What You Make Of It
“Happiness isn’t’ something that depends on our surroundings, Corrie. It’s something we make inside ourselves.” This quote from The Hiding Place shows that we are in control of how we feel in any situation. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom and Night by Elie Wiesel are both stories that acknowledge the difficulty of the Holocaust, but shows the different responses people have to hardship.
The themes of the novel are very similar in the way that their situation is very similar. In both of the novels, the main characters are thrust into a horrible world. They both must face the inhumane conditions of the Nazi concentration camps. They also must face the struggle with selfishness and starvation.
While many of the themes are similar, there are also distinct differences. In the book Night, Elie believes that God is dead because he doesn’t believe that God would let these horrible things happen to his chosen people. Corrie, instead chooses to turn to God and make him her “hiding place.” Even though bad things are still happening to her, she decides to still love God and trust in him.
Another one of the themes in the stories are miracles. Corrie never experienced an incredible miracle such as raising the dead in her sry, but she was able to see the miracles in the small things and she was able to give thanks for them. Some of the miracles she saw and gave thanks for were the miracle of being able to smuggle the bible, the miracle of the vitamin bottle, and even the miracle of the fleas. It was still a terrible place to be, but she still saw all of the good and that allowed her to still have faith in God to get her through it. Elie only acknowledged one of his little miracles, where he was thankful for the mud that made his shoes look older than they were. Corrie was able to make her own happiness. Elie succumbed to hopelessness.
The imagery and details in these books are very similar. They are both describing the details and effects of the concentration camps. Corrie uses a little more figurative language to describe her situation. She takes her time when explaining her story. Elie’s descriptions are shorter and harsher. They are that way because that is what the world looks like to him. He sees the world in a different way being 15 years old whereas Corrie is in her mid 50’s.
The tone of Corrie’s book is full of hope. There are only a very few times where she gives up hope. She still keeps trying and trusting in God. At the beginning of Night, however, it is full of false hope and people who tell themselves lies, to maintain security. People in that situation were all too ready to deny God or to tell themselves false truths. They were willing to tell themselves anything to maintain the facade of safety.
One of the main differences in the tone is their age difference. Corrie’s tone is probably more hopeful since she has lived a longer life and is wiser. With Elie’s young age, he just doesn’t know better, so when he is confronted with hardship, his only reaction is anger. He hasn’t experienced enough of life to know how to effectively cope with hard things.
In conclusion, even though the characters in Night and The Hiding Place are going through the same situations, their tones are very different. Corrie focuses on hope and God, and Elie turns away from God. People can choose to be hopeful or they can choose to turn away from hope.
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