Ms. Piel/Period 2
Chapter Presentations: Comparison Maker
Primo Levi vs. Elie Wiesel
The Holocaust was a horrific time in history; and those who survived it, will never forget it. Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi are two survivors of the Holocaust and both have made the decision to educate and write about the Holocaust. Wiesel and Levi are two different people, with different lives before the war. But, while in concentration camps they shared similar horrors. Levi and Wiesel transcribed the horror of the Holocaust into literary form with style and emotion that differed between the authors, resulting in the novel Night and Survival in Auschwitz.
Wiesel begins his memoir as a boy, telling about his life before concentration camps. He speaks of the rise of events eventually leading to the loss of all rights and pride among Jews. Wiesel depicts the denial among his neighbors; how could something so horrible actually happen? First, their possessions were taken. Next, their homes were taken and everyone was put into congested ghettos. Eventually, all Jews were shipped off to camps where reality hit.
On the other hand, Levi jumps right into his account from the arrival at the camp. The reader doesn't have the same chance to cope with the loss of a normal life as in Night, and feel for the narrator. Levi's story lacks the amount of emotion compared to Wiesel's. Levi does seem to analyze and report, rather than pull the reader into the reality of the horror as Wiesel does. Levi does not indulge in self-pity; instead he exercises curiosity and takes in everything around him.
A major difference between the two authors is the age and life they were in when they came to the camp. Wiesel was a young boy when he and his family were taken to the concentration camps. Young minds differ greatly from adult minds. Elie Wiesel, like most young people, doesn't understand how such horrible things can happen. He becomes very hateful. Levi has experienced minor horrors of life. He knows the pains of life, and knows that many times there is nothing that can be done about it. Primo Levi accepts what has happened, observes, and analyzes it. He seems to have a better way of coping with what's happening, due to his maturity. Levi's depiction may even be more accurate than dramatized. It is hard to remember accurately things that happened, no matter how terrible or painful. Sometimes this terror and pain may even contribute to the alteration of fact. Another difference is that Wiesel grew up in a community of Jews. He says that the war made him more tolerant for people. Before the war he didn't know any non-Jews. Levi lived in an Italian community. He was unfamiliar with