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Literary Precedents for Dawn

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Literary Precedents

One possible source for Wiesel's novel is Frank O'Connor's short story "Guests of the Nation" (1931). In this work, an innocent soldier is being punished by the Irish. The ethics of killing an innocent victim play a role in both works; furthermore, in Wiesel's and O'Connor's stories, the innocent soldier is British. The confrontations between the British and Irish in O'Connor's work resemble the similar dispute between the British and Jews in Wiesel's novel. Other similar literary precedents include Brendan Behan's The Hostage (1959), which is based on O'Connor's story, and Albert Camus's short story entitled "The Guest" (1957). These works share one thing in common: The executioner/keeper becomes friends with the hostage. It makes it considerably more difficult to harm or imprison the hostage after the adversaries become friends. Elisha realizes this truth when he converses with, and consequently sympathizes with, Captain John Dawson.

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This section contains 145 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Dawn Study Guide
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Dawn from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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