"The Accident" by Elie Wiesel is a novel based on the Holocaust. The author, a survivor of the Auschwitz, Buna and Buchenwald concentration camps, describes the camps in vivid detail through the main character, Eliezer. Originally written in French, the title is sometimes translated into English as "Day." The novel is the third in a series of books written by Elie Wiesel about the Holocaust.
Meaning of the Title
The title "The Accident" refers directly to the protagonist of the novel stepping from a French curb and being hit by a cab. The collision happens after World War II to a Jewish journalist who survives a concentration camp. After the accident, the protagonist, Eliezer, is taken to a hospital, and the novel becomes a series of flashbacks in the form of the journalist's memories.
The memories of the journalist concern the Holocaust, in which Nazi Germany, under the command of Adolf Hitler, systematically attempted to eliminate the European Jewry and succeeded in murdering approximately 6 million Jews. Some scenes are, unsurprisingly, gruesome, but most are accurate depictions of actual events. The journalist recalls specific details, feelings and sounds that continue to haunt him.
Psychological and Emotional Struggles
Eliezer encounters many psychological and emotional struggles, which are discussed in the novel. Despite rebuilding his life and surrounding himself with supporting people, he still feels drawn toward suicide. The journalist is often confused and discouraged as he fights the incredible pull of an early death. In the hospital the journalist wonders why he continues to live after yet another near-death experience.
The Theme of Human Hope
"The Accident" illustrates the necessity of human hope. The journalist is used to depict the depth of hope and the reasons why humans need hope for survival. Without some sort of hope, the journalist had no reason to continue living. The journalist would not question his suicidal tendencies if hope for the future did not exist. The underlying theme of hope within the novel pulls readers into considering the basic human condition and how people continue to survive when they seem to have nothing left.
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