Night by Elie Wiesel Motifs and Archetypes Motif(s) and Archetype(s) An archetype is an original or fundamental imaginative pattern that is repeated through the ages. These are the character types who show up over and over again in literature no matter what era. As well, archetypes can be symbols/or situations. For example, in Star Wars, you've got: - the evil villain (Darth Maul, Darth Vader, the Emperor) - the damsel in distress (Princess Leia) - t he hero (Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker) - the sage or wise man (Yoda, the Jedi Counsel) A motif is a detail within the story that repeats itself throughout the work. Examples of common motifs include colors, character traits, objects, locations, or situations. For example, in the movie The Sixth Sense, the director, M, Night Shyamalan, consistently uses the colour red. For instance: - character Cole wears a red sweater - red balloon floats to the attic during the birthday scene - Bruce Willis’ character, Malcolm, jiggles a red doorknob several time These may seem like coincidences but the director consistently repeats the red motif to make the viewer aware of an upcoming supernatural event. Common Archetypes Some common character archetypes are: - hero/heroine - innocent - Villain - misfit/rebel - individualist - misogynist (hates or dislikes women) - the scapegoat Some common symbol/situation archetypes are: - the quest - loss of innocent Archetype Be aware of the different archetypes that arise in the novel. Some basic archetypes are: - The Scapegoat: the Jewish people were the target for annihilation through Hitler manifesting their dislike of monetary wealth and gain. - Loss of Innocent – through extreme violence, Elie and the Jewish people change. Night Study Guide Notes The original title Elie Wiesel gave the novel was And the World Has Remained Silent. He wrote this book after 10 years of silence. By the end of the Holocaust, over 6 million Jews had been killed. Night Study Guide Notes There are five motifs to look for while reading Night: Night – pay attention to what happens at night and what that might symbolize. Remember what we learned when we talked about archetypes and what night might symbolize. Bearing Witness – Pay attention to which characters are witnesses and to what they bear witness. Night Study Guide Notes Motifs (continued): Father-son Relationships – Pay attention to how Elie and his father’s relationship develops; in addition, notice other father-son relationships in the book. Loss of faith – Notice how Elie’s faith in God changes as the book progresses. Write on your study guides where these changes occur. Night Study Guide Notes Motifs (continued): Voice vs. Silence – Who has a voice and who chooses to remain silent? Why might Elie Wiesel title his novel what he did originally, and why did he no longer remain silent? Night Study Guide Notes In Poland, 90% of the approximately 3,000,000 Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. As you read, look for times that Wiesel mentions the people in surrounding towns. There are several groups who contributed to the Holocaust, persecutors and bystanders included. Why are by-standers just as important as the persecutors?