In this memoir, Eliezer struggles with his relationship with his father during the Holocaust.
|Author||Wiesel - Elie Wiesel|
|Early 20th-Century Literature||Early 20th-Century World Literature|
|Post-1945 Literature||Post-1945 World Literature|
Freedom and Confinement
Lies and Deceit
...but our souls as well.
Long-standing beliefs can be rocked to the core...
...and our faith in humanity can be severely tested.
Consider the relationship you have with your father.
You two may have your highs and your lows...
...but imagine having to go through something like what Eliezer and his father experienced
in Elie Wiesel's Night.
Could you choose between helping your ailing father and acting to ensure your own survival?
We can read about what happened to the victims and survivors of the concentration camps.
We can get a general idea of their daily routine, and how their captors treated them.
But can any of us really come close to understanding the utter despair they must have felt?
How can someone continue to believe that humankind is basically good when they see such atrocities
being committed on a daily basis?
And if they give up on humanity, what reason do they have any longer to show mercy, kindness,
or compassion? In Night, one prisoner actually kills his
own father for a loaf of bread.
Certainly, we can't blame something like that purely on hunger.
He had been reduced to an animal, systematically broken down, day after day.
We can imagine that all sorts of beliefs were tested by the unfortunate prisoners of the
How did their experiences affect the way they viewed their own religion?
Would their God allow such horrors to befall them?
Surely there were many in Eliezer's company at Buchenwald who felt compelled to renounce
their religion after being subjected to such a living Hell.
And what about their feelings toward race?
Clearly the Nazis had their own issues when it came to ethnicity...
...but Jews who previously exhibited no animosity toward others...
...might have suddenly developed resentment, distrust and... plenty of hatred... toward
pretty much every gentile.
This was Eliezer's struggle... to preserve and hold onto whatever shreds of decency and
virtue he could...
...as he fought at the same time to simply stay alive.
So... put yourself in Eliezer's shoes for a minute.
How would you have dealt with the horrors he faced?
Shmoop amongst yourselves.