World War II, Europe
Unlike fictional literature where authors can create or select a perfect setting for their story to unfold, Elie Wiesel recounts the setting of a portion of his lifetime. During the course of his story (and the book), we move from the Transylvanian town of Sighet to a Jewish ghetto (still in Sighet), to a cattle car, then a series of concentration camps—first, Birkenau, then Auschwitz, then Buna, and last Buchenwald. With each transition of the setting, for example from the ghetto to the cattle cars, Eliezer Wiesel and his fellow Jews experience a reduction of their personal freedom and are treated more like animals and less like humans. Generally with the movement to new settings, Eliezer is treated with increasing violence, his body’s health deteriorates, and his hope for liberation and a happy future is further diminished.