The Significance Of The Title "Native Son" By Richard Wright And "Night" By Elie Wiesel

573 words - 3 pages

Authors often choose the titles for their novels based on the main character or protagonist. These titles give deeper insight or change the meaning entirely as the novel progresses and the relationships between characters and their environment become clearer. Two excellent examples of significant titles are Native Son by Richard Wright and Elie Wiesel's Night.The very title of the novel, Native Son, instantly makes the reader think about ideas of "nativism" and "territory." From the opening scene of the novel, where Bigger is killing the rat that is in their apartment, to Bigger's execution at the end of the novel, there is a tension between Bigger's "native" status and his lack of political rights. Bigger was ...view middle of the document...

The novel continually presents Bigger's feelings of being trapped and his lack of personal and physical freedom. In the end, Wright makes the argument that poverty and American racism has remade Bigger into the "native son" that he has become. Basically Bigger Thomas is a " product of his environment".Elie Wiesel's experiences during the holocaust, one of the darkest periods in human history, were like a journey into a night of total blackness. Hence the novel's title "Night". During his stay in the various concentration camps, Wiesel witnessed and endured the worst kind of man's inhumanity to his fellow Jewish people. Prisoners were beaten, tortured, starved, and murdered. Darkness and evil reigned. When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he condemned the silence and apathy of those who did not cry out and condemn the criminal atrocities of Hitler and the Nazi Party.As a symbol, night does not only represent physical darkness, it also stands for the darkness of the soul. It was obvious that the Nazis were dark and evil but Wiesel also felt that his heart was darkened by the evil around him. In the book, he says about himself, "There remained only a shape that looked like man. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it." Obviously, throughout the holocaust, Wiesel was living through a long "night" of terror and torture, where he could see no light at the end of the tunnel, only perpetual darkness.In conclusion, the apt choice of title is critical in these works. By indicating the personal events in the main character's lives, the novel has been given an initial meaning to their titles, which they proceed to modify in terms of meaning after events and descriptions.

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