Night Name: English I oehrlein Date

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Essay Topics for Night Name: _________________

English I

Oehrlein Date: __________________
A theme is a central message or insight into life revealed through a work of literature. In Night, Elie Wiesel introduces many themes, each of which suggests a generalization about human beings or about life. He makes readers think about hope, cruelty, courage, experience, war, etc. You are to write a five or six paragraph essay in which you show different ways in which a theme exists by using specific examples from Night, your own life, and other sources that you know of (i.e. history, the news, books you have read, or movies you have seen, etc.).

Choose one of the theme statements below as a basis, or thesis, for your essay. You may change the wording of the statement to fit your ideas, but you must be sure to choose one that you can support and prove your thesis using examples you have collected in your notebook. If you have trouble getting started, use the italicized prompts to help you brainstorm your body paragraph topics.

Use the planning sheet to outline your ideas. You must have the planning sheet filled in and approved before typing. You will include more information in your actual essay.

  1. When faced with extreme hardships or challenges, many people are somehow able to find the mental and physical strength necessary to endure.

Think about the characteristics of strength. When did Elie find strength he did not know he had? What have you learned about yourself through your own experiences?

  1. Sometimes certain experiences cause people to alter their ideas about what is valuable in life; in other cases, these experiences may, in fact, solidify what people value.

Think about the things that are of true value to you in your life regardless of how or where you might have to live. Think about when Elie’s father was on his deathbed instructing Elie as to where he could find the family treasures. Were they as important as his father made it out to be?

Think about the health of the prisoners. How valuable is one’s health?

  1. Stressful situations can change the dynamics of a family.

Think about the different family relationships described in the book. Think about the struggle Elie faces when his father became gravely ill. How did the role reversal of child caring for parent impede Elie survival? What is your function in your family? How is your role determined by your physical strength or size?

  1. Kindness and generosity can exist in times of cruelty and suffering.

Think about the most difficult of times in the book and in your experience. What examples can you find to show that people can rise above the horrible situations around them and be kind and generous to others.

  1. If there is another topic that you wish to write about, please consult Mrs.Oehrlein for approval.



  • On your rough draft and final copy, you must use MLA format.

  • You must cite the memoir (i.e. use a quotation and put in the appropriate page number correctly) at least THREE times somewhere in your essay. This can include your lead.

  • You do not need to cite your other examples.

INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH - The title and author must appear in this paragraph!

  • Interesting Lead: Every essay should begin with a good lead, or interest catcher, which makes the reader interested and involved in what you, the writer, has to say. Use a quotation from Night as an interest catcher/lead for your essay. Be sure that the one you choose relates in some way to the theme you will prove.

  • Explain the lead: Use information from Night to explain the quotation’s importance.

  • Bridge to Thesis: Connect the information to real life and the theme.

  • Thesis Statement – End your first paragraph with your thesis statement (your theme).

BODY PARAGRAPHS - You should have at least three body paragraphs.

  • Transition/Topic sentence: Make a statement which shows one major way that the author shows how that the thesis is true. Do not use an EXAMPLE for your TS.

  • Support: Give several facts/examples/quotations to help support this statement.

  • So What?: Explain why these examples are important to the theme and to real life.

  • Concluding Sentence: Make an insight to tie ideas together. Do not say, “These are the ways. . .”


  • Summarize your main points without repeating them exactly.

  • Show how all your ideas tie together. What can one learn from all of this??

  • Mention the words and ideas of the essay’s lead/interest catcher in order to tie the essay together.


10 pts = Outline (MP 2)

20 pts = Rough Draft (MP 2)

20 pts = Revising / Editing Notes on draft (MP 2)

50 pts = Final Draft (See Writing Process Rubric) (MP 3)

100 points TOTAL

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