That’s What You Get for Reading Great Books

In the midst of the monotonous task of grading literary analysis papers, I occasionally run across a line or two that bears witness to the life-altering power of the written word.  There is nothing more thrilling for me than watching a great book shake up a student’s world. The following quote is from a Korean exchange student who, even within the confines of a language not her own, manages to express how deeply Elie Wiesel’s holocaust memoir impacted her.

“When I finished reading Night, I was completely overwhelmed.  I thought, ‘This is a true story, but I can’t believe this is.’  It was too sad to believe that Elie’s father finally died.  It was too cruel to believe that Nazis have done such brutal things to the Jews with no good reason.  It was too hard to believe that Elie had closed his mind towards God ‘seven times sealed.’  It was too heartbreaking to believe how much the Nazis and the holocaust changed Elie into such an indifferent person by the end.  It is a book that made me think.”


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