Loss of Innocence

Thesis: In Night by Wiesel and The Hiding Place by Ten Boom, the transformation of the main characters to becoming concerned only with self survival is not a conscious decision but is influenced by events in each character’s life. This can be seen by examining loss of innocence and psychological factors.

      In the novels Night and The Hiding Place, the characters’ loss of innocence is a strong component of their conversion to self awareness alone, and their conversion to caring only of self survival. Three aspects play key roles in contributing to the characters’ loss of innocence. These three aspects include murder, brutality, and crime. These things open the characters’ minds to things they have never seen, and could never dream of encountering, which destroy the original innocent nature of each character, and pull them from caring about others.
      The introduction of murder into a person’s life by mass graves and concentration camps affects the person in horrible ways, including loss of innocence. In Night by Wiesel his mentor, Moishe the Beadle tells him, “Without passion or haste, they shot their prisoners, who were forced to approach the trench one by one and offer their necks. Infants were tossed into the air and used as targets for the machine guns” (Wiesel 6). All foreign Jews had been expelled from Sighet, and this was their outcome. This affected Elie just by hearing it, but Moishe the Beadle was never the same, “He closed his eyes, as if to escape time, ‘You don’t understand’… ‘You can’t understand’ ” (Wiesel 7). This event turned his life around and shattered his innocent nature. The same outcome occurs with the introduction to concentration camps. Concentration camps were designed by the Nazis to break down a prisoner. Torture, starvation, forced labor and many more things were all meant to break a prisoner down mentally and physically, which strips innocence from them. In Night as Elie is being marched past the crematoria, he sees, “a truck...