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Concepts of Sacrifice in Night by Elie Wiesel

            What do humans sacrifice when under such extreme duress as caused by the conditions of the concentration camps? Maslow's Hierarchy of Need theory shows the different levels of what a human loses if one level of needs is stripped from his or her life. Throughout book Night, by Elie Wiesel, the main character, as well as everyone around him, was stripped of all of these levels of needs, one by one, or sometimes even all at once, in the concentration and death camps. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is veritably the basis of what makes someone human. Their minds are so built to survival that they no longer act human. All that matters to them is to survive, and when all of these needs are taken away, a person is reduced to nothingness.
             The base of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs pyramid is physiological: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. One of the most essential aspects of life is the ability to access food. Prisoners in Night were denied all possible access to food, and it drove them to starvation. "I was nothing but a body. Perhaps even less: a famished stomach. The stomach alone was measuring time." (52) In the book it is said that they were given little to eat, only a bowl or two of soup a day, some bread, and coffee. And while they were traveling, only the smallest piece of bread was thrown to an entire group to fight over.
             The second most essential resource available to man is water. In Night, prisoners were not allowed water. They were forced to be dehydrated, by only being allowed salty soup, coffee, and dry bread. They would do almost anything to get water. "Someone had the idea of quenching his thirst by eating snow. Soon, we were all imitating him. As we were not permitted to bend down, we took out our spoons and ate the snow off our neighbors' backs." (96) And yet another essential human need in the Hierarchy pyramid is breathing. In the book, often times when the prisoners would be traveling, they would barely be able to breath, because they were practically suffocating each other.

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