Comparison of Night by Elie Weisel and Cry of the Beloved Country by Paton Compare and Contrast Essay
Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night gives a thought provoking account of the ruthless maltreatment of his family during the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. Wiesel was brought up in the mountains of the present day Romania and in 1944, at fifteen years old, his family was captured as part of a mission by the Germans to torture the Jews. Thereafter, Wiesel and his dad were detached from his youngest sister and mum at Auschwitz.
All the family members died in different circumstances leaving the young Wiesel behind. Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country, is a commanding, spare, poetic modern classic that protests against the structures of the South African society that would lead to apartheid in the 1940s. The novel tells the story of Reverend Stephen Kumalo who undertakes the difficult and expensive journey to Johannesburg from the remote village of Ndotsheni (Paton, 1).
He makes the journey in order to find his wayward son, Absalom, and assist her sick daughter, Gertrude. In as much as the two novels are distinct, they portray the same thematic link: good and evil in the society.
To begin with, both the two novels give a portrayal of social breakdown and racial injustice in the society. The society represented in Cry, the Beloved Country, is unjust, segregated along racial lines in which the white people have assumed ownership of the most profitable farmland from the black people.
For that reason, blacks have been compelled to migrate from their tribal villages to try to find work in cities like Johannesburg. In the cities, white businesses rely so much on the labor provided by the blacks, for which they work for subsistence wages.
Since the blacks have been forced to leave their traditional social structures such as adherence to morals and reverence for the elderly in the society, social breakdown has inevitably followed. Because the blacks left the traditional social structures that lent stability to their lives, the crime rate among the blacks is increasing at a fast pace.
The novel Night, by Elie Wiesel, also portrays the theme of social breakdown and racial injustice in the society. The Nazi’s captured and killed so many Jews after forcing them to endure treacherous situations. Wiesel notes, “Without passion, without haste, they slaughtered their prisoners” (4). Their oppressors did not even spare the weak among them.
The Nazis purposely withheld proper means of transport and forced the Jews to travel in cattle cars to the concentration camps. By doing this, they placed their voiceless prisoners on the same level as the animals. Therefore, this undermined the significance of the Jewish existence, dehumanized them, and belittled their self-esteem.
The novel depicts instances of the breakdown of the Jewish social structures. Wiesel witnessed occasions when sons turned against their fathers by abusing them, abandoning them, or fighting with them. The Jews themselves abandoned the traditional social structures that lent stability to their lives when they started turning against each other in the concentration camps. In addition to the kapos, who were also Jews, they never treated each other as brothers and sisters.
Even though the two novels give an illustration of extreme social injustices, they also have a human heart. In Cry, the Beloved Country, the sense of despondency is envisaged by the likelihood of reunion amongst the races and the blacks coming together once again.
Even in the evil parts of the book, bright spots wherein individuals show human love to each other, not considering the race, are evident in the story. For instance, a white man offers free transport to blacks who were on foot because of a bus boycott. Another show of human heart is whereby Kumalo and Jarvis desperately search for their sons to reconcile with them. Although Kumalo finally discovered that his son had changed to an evil man, he endured the ordeal of the trial with him until he was sentenced to death.
Jarvis is depicted to have undergone a change of heart when he tried to reconcile with his dead son through his writings that he had left behind. In the book, Paton seems to imply that societal change is possible if it can start to be effected from people’s heart. The novel upholds that such change is possible in the future.
In Night, instances of compassion, as depicted by the relationship between Elie and his father, are evident. In the concentration camps, Elie did not want to give up because he never wanted to leave his father alone since they had been separated from the other family members.
A number of kinships portrayed in the novel are very different from that of Eli and his father in that the sons abuse, abandon, mistreat or kill their fathers. During the Holocaust, the Jews changed dramatically because there was scarcity of food and everyone was struggling for his or her own survival.
Amidst the cruelty and selfishness that ruptured familial bonds, Elie showed compassion to his father. This strong bond between the father and the son illustrates that Eli’s compassion and solidarity are stronger forces for his continued existence than his instinct for self-protection.
In Night, Eli seeks to find an answer to the questions he was having, but there is silence and he seems to get no answer. Eli asks, “Where is God?” but there is no divine response. He failed to understand why God could permit such a torture to be experienced by devout worshippers. Another type of silence in the book is seen when the Jews failed to resist the oppression that they underwent during the Holocaust.
On the other hand, in Cry, the Beloved country, Kumalo is able to get answers to the questions he was having. Even though he was going through tough times, his only solace came from faith in God. The trial of his son shook his faith but never broke it. He spent most of his time in prayer in order to get the answers from God. Unlike Eli’s case, Kumalo was able to find comfort from fellow compatriots.
These two books are so rich, so proficient in describing the trouble, the dissatisfaction, and the unbelievable misery in a torn planet. Understanding the past is important when one wants to understand the future. Therefore, these novels remain relevant in our current society.
Currently, the world is full of various atrocities that parallel the situation in South Africa before apartheid and the oppression of the Jews during the Holocaust. In spite of these violence and gloom, the novels remind us that we have the power to change the world. Everyone has the potential to do good. Although the novels are set in different parts of the world, they indicate that at times good can prevail over evil or on the contrary, evil prevailing over good.
Paton, Alan. Cry, the Beloved Country. New York: Scribner, 1948. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill & Wang, 1960. Print.
Wiesel’s Changing Understanding of God Essay
Elie Wiesel was a devout Jew during his childhood, just before the Holocaust wounded his soul. He survived the events of the Holocaust, but in his waiting for the Lord’s intervention, just like it was in the bible, his doubts in God and his mercy began to develop. The book ‘Night’ tells us of the journey that Wiesel took in his dilemma whether to forgive God’s cruelty towards his people or to define his own fate.
He finds it difficult to understand the role of God in the world, and poses many questions to try and understand why God would stand by and watch the horrors of the Holocaust. When the Jews of Sighet first heard of the crimes of the Nazis, they strengthened their faith in God, and believed that God would provide them with security from such horrifying things, as Wiesel stated, “And we, the Jews of Sighet, were waiting for better days, which would not be long in coming now” (5).
The Jews, Wiesel included, believed that God had greater plans for everyone, and everything that happened was for their benefit, since God was both their defender and righter of wrongs. The faith that Wiesel had in God was enormous, in spite of the increasing abuse and hatred that the Nazis had for the Jews (Wiesel 5).
Just like the other believers, he believed that their suffering was a punishment from god for their evil deeds, and therefore they did not resist or fight back. God was supposed to present himself at the last moment and show his glory for their perseverance, but this did not happen. “God is testing us. He wants to find out whether we can dominate our base instincts and kill the (Wiesel 42) within us. We have no right to despair. And if he punishes us relentlessly, it’s a sign that he loves us all the more” (Wiesel 42).
Eventually, Wiesel got to a point where he did not want to praise and thank God anymore. His fellow men were suffering and dying, yet God was still not manifesting his power. `For the first time I felt revolt rise in me. Why should I bless His name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent.
What had I to thank Him for?” (Wiesel 31). The Jews had lost faith in God, and despair crept in, since they wondered who would save them. By this point, Wiesel was already feeling betrayed, and at the hanging of the angel-faced pipel, he declared that God was dead to him, bringing an end to his long lived faith in God (Wiesel 62).
The events of the Holocaust brought a lot of anger to Wiesel, which he directed to both God and men, for their cruelty. He could not understand the numerous killings, and it appeared that the lack of intervention from God implied that he approved the killings. Many believers had died, but Wiesel was alive and hurting.
He therefore redirected his energy to accusing God and asking for him to explain his ignorance of the cries of his people (Douglas 5). In addition to the Jews doubting the love that God had for his people, and amidst all the questions, Wiesel and other Jews decided to become God (Douglas 7).
This meant taking charge of their lives and doing things that they had never done before, and the most significant one was to hate. The Jews had been humiliated and killed while believing that God has a greater plan for them. They believed that hate would lead them to fight back, as they no longer believed in suffering and persevering for a God who failed to answer the cries of his people (Douglas 7).
The questions raised by Wiesel bear no answers. What comforted him were the words that he had received from Moshe during his childhood, telling him that the relationship between man and God was based on question and answer, where the answers for the questions that people asked God came from the depths of the soul, where they stayed till death (Wiesel 2-3).
The variety of questions came from his childhood observations, whereby the people initially shared their possessions but eventually became violent towards each other, killing for food, and not caring for others.
Wiesel’s lack of faith led him to stop fasting when Jews were required to, and he no longer observed the Sabbath day. He believes that the many questions that he has will be answered one day, by God himself, and hopes that no other Holocaust will happen, as he continues to wonder why the first one was, in the first place. One thing that Wiesel advices is that faith alone is not enough to stop tragedy, but the decisions and active participation of people.
Douglas, Robert. “Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God.” 1995. Web.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. United States: Bantam Books, 1982.
The Relationship between Eliezer and his Father Essay
In the novel, the relationship between Eliezer and his father before and after Hitler deports them is observed to be strong. However, the experiences that they go through together at the Nazi death camp transform that relationship. This essay will explore the relationship between Eliezer and his father and how it changes throughout the novel.
Relationship of respect and obedience
At the beginning of the story, the relationship existing between Eliezer and his father is held together by a bond of mutual understanding and respect. In Sighet, his father is seen as a respected member belonging to the community of the Jews (Jablon 317).
Even though he refuses to take the mentorship role over his son’s training of mysticism, Eliezer still regards him with utmost respect not only because of his position in the Jewish community but because it was expected of him to follow the example of other Orthodox Jewish families (Frunza 99).
Relationship of love and dependence
At Birkenau, Elie and his father are separated from the rest of their family members. He began to feel the loss and gripped with fear of losing his father, the forthcoming experiences and need for protection; he clings to his father (Spector 40).
At some point in the story, his father weeps at the thought of what Elie will go through at the death camp, and the expression of emotions by his father assures him of love (Bauer 22). When Eli is taken to Block 17 after separation with his father, he worries about his well being and continues offering support. They rely on each other for strength to working and survival (Misco 10).
Relationship of anger and frustration
While in the concentration camps, the oppressions make keeping a good relationship between Elie and his father cumbersome. His father narrowly escapes death after being beaten thoroughly by a 13-year-old in the presence of Elie for failing to make his bed properly (Frunza 99). Also, his father receives beatings from a gypsy and Idek the camp overseer (Spector 40).
Unable to help and faced with embarrassment and frustrations, he directs his anger at his father (Jablon 317). Even though he cares for him, he does not understand why his father is always at fault and why he can’t defend himself (Hospital 360). His attitude towards his father begins to change.
Wesley sees his father as a burden
Even though the bond between Elie and his father is strong, at some point in the story, he sees his father as a burden. During the first selection, Elie’ gets upset when his father fails to pass the test, and this forces him to work extra hard for both of them to survive (Misco 10). Additionally, his father is almost thrown out of the cattle cars for fear that he is dead. Elie is forced to slap his father to wake up (Bauer 22).
Additionally, he has to fight and kill a person grabbing food from his father on the train (Hospital 360). From these, Elie sees his father as a burden and despite the adversity growing between them and his struggles to keep the relationship. These events cause a change in attitude towards his father, and at one point he leaves his father to die during an air raid (Jablon 317).
Bauer, Markus. “Coming to Terms with the Past: Romania” History Today, 57.2 (2007): 21-23. Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jun. 2011.
Frunza, Sandu. “Ethics, religion, and memory in Elie Wiesel’s night” Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 9.26 (2010): 94-113. ProQuest Religion, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jun. 2011.
Hospital, Clifford. “Towards maturity in inter-faith dialogue” Cross Currents 57.3 (2007): 356-365. ProQuest Religion, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jun. 2011.
Jablon, Rachel Leah. “Witnessing as Shivah; Memoir as Yizkor: The Formulation of Holocaust Survivor Literature as Gemilut Khasadim ” Journal of Popular Culture 38.2 (2004): 306-324. Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jun. 2011.
Misco, Thomas.”Nobody told us about what happened”: the current state of Holocaust education in Romania.”International Education, 38.1 (2008): 6-21. Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jun. 2011.
Spector, Karen. “God on the Gallows: Reading the Holocaust through Narratives of Redemption ” Research in the Teaching of English 42.1 (2007): 7-55. Research Library, ProQuest. Web. 14 Jun. 2011.
Change in Wiesel’s Understanding of God Exemplification Essay
Before the Holocaust occurred, Wiesel understood that God was the protector of Jews. He believed that the events preceding the holocaust were aimed at bringing good things to the Jews. The events were also a sign of a good plan that God had for the Jews. Wiesel was ready to accept the will of God without complaining or asking questions regardless of what happened.
When the holocaust ended he did not speak much about God and whenever he did, it was clear that his understanding of God had changed (Berenbaum 45). When unconfirmed reports about the crimes that were taking place in Nazis were received, Wiesel and the entire population of Rabbis believed that nothing was going to happen to them since God was with them.
Their faith convinced them that their safety was guaranteed. However, after a short period of time Wiesel discovered that he was wrong. Cases of abuse against the Jews continued increasing causing him to wonder if God was still with them. But this did not change the faith he had in God and he continued believing that God was going to safe them (Henry 3).
One reason that made Wiesel continue trusting in God even when the Jews were suffering was that it was hard for him to doubt God. However, after the suffering of his people continued, his faith in God started to decline. He could not see the reason for thanking a God who had remained silent as they suffered.
He felt that God had left him and the Jews because of their continued suffering. His declining faith in God slowly started turning into despair because if God could not help them, there was nobody they could rely on. The Jews who followed Wiesel tried hard to continue believing in God but the number of those who remained faithful started to reduce. Pinhas, who was a mentor to Wiesel believed that God had a great plan for the Jews.
He later told Wiesel that he had accepted what God always did because he knew God could not be wrong. But he had come to a realization that what God was doing was serious and convinced Wiesel to believe it. Wiesel continued moving away from the God he had trusted since childhood because he looked at him as an enemy. Pinhas died with unanswered questions on the cause of the suffering while Wiesel continued carrying the questions with him.
Wiesel became angry with God for allowing his people to suffer. He said, “For the first time, I felt revolt rise up in me. Why should I bless His name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank Him for”(Wiesel 31).
He thought that God wanted to fulfill his cruel intentions. Initially, Wiesel devoted himself to worshipping God but started accusing God and seeking for an explanation as to why all this was happening. He believed that the Jews were faithful to God but his understanding was changed by the suffering.
God was playing a cruel role in their lives and Wiesel no longer had faith in him. He started questioning if man was indeed a close friend of God or simply a toy. He felt as if the Jews were under the care of a cruel stranger as opposed to the caring God who was supposed to protect them against suffering. Wiesel discovered that there was no need to try to identify the causes of the holocaust because it seemed that God was mad. The suffering of so many people was enough justification that God had gone mad.
The results of the holocaust left Wiesel with many unanswered questions. It was clear that the suffering had changed his understanding of God. Some of the questions he asked were where God could be found. He wondered if God was found in their suffering or in choosing not to obey him. Another question that remained unanswered was the time man was to be justified as a true man.
Wiesel looked for answers for a long period of time but concluded that there were no answers to his questions and that his continued questioning could not give any answers. He realized that the attempts to justify why God allowed his people to suffer could not offer adequate solutions. Man could not provide answers to the questions but only God himself was able to provide the answers.
The final understanding of God Wiesel held was that when people prayed they were not supposed to expect God to answer their prayers. He understood that his relationship with God depended on whether god answered his prayers or not. He finally says, “I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.”(Wiesel 42).
Berenbaum,Michael. Elie Wiesel: God, the Holocaust, and the Children of Israel. New Jersey: Behrman House, Inc, 1979.
Henry, Gary. Story and Silence: Transcendence in the Work of Elie Wiesel. 2002. Web.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1999.
The Relationship between Eliezer and his Father Essay
This paper is devoted to a theme of relations between fathers and children and their transformation under extreme circumstances. It is based on the “Night” novel by Eliezer Wiesel, a Romanian-born American writer, political activist, professor, and Nobel Laureate. The book tells about the experiences in concentration camps and the relationship between Elie and his father. The essay aims to analyze the transformation of this relationship.
Change is inevitable. and the relationship between Eliezer and his father in Night drastically transforms. The young boy and his father go through much suffering in a concentration camp. Their experience at the concentration camp changes the relationship between son and father, and the despicable treatment by the Nazis helps Eliezer and his father develop a strong connection.
As the beginning of “Night”, Elie and his father’s relationship is not very good. It does not reflect a healthy connection between a father and a son. Eliezer even thinks that his father cares for other people more than his family. “He was more concerned with others than with his own family” (Wiesel 2).
Moreover, his father does not support him in his religious quest. Thus Eliezer finds Moshe, a teacher, to teach him the Cabbala something that does not go well with his father, who condemns him for his preoccupation with the Cabbala. Still, Eliezer’s relationship with his father change as their circumstances change.
Once the two are taken to a concentration camp along with many others, their relationship begins to become close. The reason for the change is the loss of the rest of their family members, and they are only left with each other. The horrendous days and the cruel treatment they receive at camp Auschwitz bring them closer as they learn to depend on one another for their mere survival.
The relationship of Elie Wiesel and his father improves drastically. They develop a close connection and support one another as they go through hard times in the camp. For example, while at the camp after his father is deemed too weak to work and taken to the side of those to go the crematorium. Eliezer runs to him, and in the confusion that ensues, both slip back to the safe side. Furthermore, his father learns to value his son and show him affection as he tells his son not to worry and go to sleep. This is seen in the following quote:“Don’t be afraid, son. Sleep—…I’ll look after you myself” (Weisel 85).
Eliezer has learned to depend on his father and will do anything to keep him by his side. He even prays to God despite his loss of faith in a God who seems quiet amid their suffering. The prisoners are going through in the camp, for the strength never to leave his father as he had sons do to their fathers.
He asks God to enable him to stay with his father because he had seen Rabbi abandon his father, “My God, Lord of the Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son has done” (E.Wiesel 87). Father and son struggle to survive for the sake of one another as no one can imagine how life would change for the other if they died.
Eliezer protects and helps his father; he does not sacrifice him for his survival, as so many sons had done to their sons for their survival. However, as days pass by, he starts to feel some resentment toward his father, especially when he is unable to protect himself from the cruelty of the guards instead of pitying him.
Moreover, towards the end of the book on their way to Buchenwald, his father becomes very weak and cannot move, maybe because of fatigue or loss of hope. He leaves his father and sleeps deeply, and when he wakes up, he cannot find him and searches for him half-heartedly because a thought tells him maybe he can increase his chance of survival if he were alone.
Fortunately, he finds him, “Father! I’ve been looking for you for so long… Where were you? Did you sleep? How do you feel?” (Wiesel 101). He still cares about his father, and guilt eats him for his behavior, especially when he considers eating the food instead of sharing it with his father. Eliezer is slowly becoming estranged from his father due to the harsh situation, but he stands by his father, who suffers from dysentery.
Finally, his father passes on, and he feels a sign of relief and does not cry. However, the experience at the camp and their deep concern for one another that develops over time helps them to survive and not fall into the temptation of self-preservation that makes a son turn against his father and kill him. In summary, Elie Wiesel’s relationship with his father grows strong, albeit the former’s thoughts that he would be better off without his father as the two experience a deep bond that changes both of their lives as they struggle to survive.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. MacGibbon& Kee: New York, 1982.
The Relationship between Eliezer and His Father Essay
Tough and gruesome times caused by events happening around an individual’s life play a critical role in triggering emotions which can impact on the relationship that person has with others.
Empirical-based research studies indicate that different individuals who have strong faith in God and also enjoy firm relationship with family and friends may lose faith in both God and mankind during trying moments. However, although relationships can be impacted upon by circumstances, strong family ties play an important role in holding individuals together as this paper examines from the relationship of Eliezer and his father.
A respectful relationship
The relationship Eliezer has with his father at the beginning of the story can be compared to the one he has with God soon after the tough experiences and problems at the Nazi concentration camps hits him (Spector 40).
The author claims that even before going to the camps, there seems to be no cordial relationship between him and his father. This was due to the fact that his father seemed to care more about other people and issues and ignore his son Eliezer altogether.
For instance, at the sighet ghetto, Eliezer had demonstrated positive attitude, passion and interest in studying mysticism. Therefore, he thought of seeking approval and mentorship role from his father who was at that time a respected member of their community and in good position to help him. Unfortunately, his father downplayed his request as a less important matter (Misco 11).
Even though Eliezar’s father refuses to take the mentorship role over his son, his son still looks up to him, obey his will and regards him with utmost respect as his father and also due to his position in the Jewish community. In addition, he also respects his father because it was expected of him to do so according to the orthodox Jewish laws (Frunza 21).
A caring relationship: Eliezer demonstrates his great care and willingness to protect his father from the uncertainties at the concentration camp. At Auschwitz Birkenau, Eliezer develops fear of being separated from his father whom he sees as helpless individual in need of support and care when men and women are separated (Hospital 360).
Despite the weak bond he has with his father, Eliezer begins to feel that he would lose his father too. As a result, he is gripped with fear and develops a deep feeling of care and love for his father. When he is eventually separated from his father, the uncertainty of forthcoming experiences and need to protect his helpless father leads him towards guilt and resentment.
When Eliezer is transferred to block 17 after he is separated from his father, he worries about his father’s well being and continues offering support (Jablon 320). They rely on each other for strength to live despite hardships, work and survival. On the other hand, Eliezer’s father also demonstrates great concern for his son.
For instance, on the first night at Bikenau, a big fire pit is dug in the camp and children are brought in by a lorry and tossed into the fire. While Eliezer is waiting in the line for his turn, his father weeps at the thought of what Eliezer will go through. Besides, his father worries about what his son might have to face alone at the death camp and the expression of emotions by his father assures Eliezer of care and concern for his plight (Bauer 21).
Bauer, Markus. “Coming to Terms with the Past: Romania”. History Today 57.2 (2007): 21-23. Print.
Frunza, Sandu. “Ethics, religion and memory in Elie Wiesel’s night” Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies 9.26 (2010): 94-113. Print
Hospital, Clifford. “Towards maturity in inter-faith dialogue” Cross Currents 57.3 (2007): 356-365. Print.
Jablon, Rachel Leah. “Witnessing as Shivah; Memoir as Yizkor: The Formulation of Holocaust Survivor Literature as Gemilut Khasadim ” Journal of Popular Culture 38.2 (2004): 306-324. Print.
Misco, Thomas.””Nobody told us about what happened”: the current state of holocaust education in Romania. ”International Education 38.1 (2008): 6-21. Print.
Spector, Karen. “God on the Gallows: Reading the Holocaust through Narratives of Redemption ” Research in the Teaching of English 42.1 (2007): 7-55. Print.
Eliezer’s Lost Childhood and the Image in the Mirror Essay
A brief overview of Elie Wiesel’s Night
First of all, I would like to point out that the work Night written by Elie Wiesel is of great importance. The events described in the book are related to the Second World War and the genocide of European Jews.
Lorraine Maynard thinks that the work Night is considered to be the so-called testing of faith. He states that “Elie Wiesel‘s haunting narrative Night is an account of the horrors of the Holocaust” (Maynard 1).
The thesis statement
Generally, there are a lot of contradictions concerning Elie Wiesel’s Night. One of the key issues, which is discussed in the work, is people’s belief about the presence of God. The author of the book presents his hero in two ways: on the one hand, he depicts the boy, who is full of hopes and expectations; on the other hand, he shows the boy whose soul is destroyed with horrific experience.
Some critical evaluations of the work
The most interesting point is that there are two Eliezers in the book. On the one hand, the readers are familiar with an innocent child; on the other hand, they see the hero, who is destroyed with his horrific experience. The second Eliezer is not a child anymore. It is difficult to believe that the boy was changed so much. Looking at the new image of the main hero the author provides us with, we understand that Eliezer’s viewpoints have been altered.
As far as the boy has no parents, nobody can state that he is somebody’s child. The horrors the boy experiences made him different. “The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it” (Wiesel 34). His character became tough; he became too hard on people. Eliezer was transformed from the boy into a camp survivor. The second Eliezer won’t accept another side of his soul anymore.
Jennifer Flynn says that Naomi Seidman, “professor of Jewish Culture at Berkeley College’s Graduate Theological Union ignores critical aspects of the autobiographical genre and Wiesel’s transformation of that form that valuably complicate an understanding of Night” (1). I would like to point out that such ignorance can be explained by the fact that Seidman mostly supports word choice. She “neglects features of structure such as the inclusion of novelistic devices that shed light on Wiesel’s motives” (Flynn 2).
Robert E. Douglas, Jr. (1995) says that “anyone who comes in contact with these horrors will be forever shaken in his present faith” (1). According to the popular website Usf.edu (2005) the main hero “finally despairs of both God and humanity, yet juxtaposed against the atrocities is the story of his enduring relationship with his father” (1). “I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice” (Wiesel 42).
Death and faith are the central issues in the work. Thus, Eliezer’s faith died, but his new nature was born: new behavior, new attitudes, new thoughts. In other words, Eliezer got new soul.
The conclusion: new Elie
“As an end to the camp, Elie finally took a look at himself in the mirror, and what he saw shocked him; he saw an almost lifeless corpse staring back at him” (Ccsd.edu 1). In other words, Eliezer realized whom he was transformed into. He understood the consequences of horrible events he experienced.
Usually, people have no time to evaluate some changes, which occur in their life. However, when they start to analyze their life, it becomes obvious, what losses they suffered. “From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me” (Wiesel 109).
Ccsd.edu. From the Depths of the Mirror a Corpse Gazed Back at Me, 2011. Web.
Douglas, Robert. Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God, 1995. Web.
Flynn, Jennifer. Reshaping the Autobiographical Self: Elie Wiesel’s Night. Web.
Maynard, Lorraine. “From Whence the Rivers Come, Thither Their Return Again”: The Testing of Faith in Elie Wiesel’s Night. Web.
Usf.edu. Survivor Testimony and Literature, 2005. Web.
Wiesel, Elie. Night, 1982. Web.
Night by Elie Wiesel Essay
In the introductory part of this book, Elie is introduced as a teenage boy. During this period, Elie’s teacher, warned the Jewish residents about the future plan by Hitler to destroy the Jews communities (Wiesel 4).
Initially, everyone thought that the teacher was psychologically disturbed. A few months after his warning, Gestapo forced the Jewish communities into the ghettos. During the following months, more Jews were forcefully turned out of their homes into the concentration camps by the Nazi fundamentalists. During this horrifying process, Elie and his father were separated from the rest of their family.
According to the book, Elie detailed that this was his last time he had ever seen some of his family members. Through this book, Elie argued that life in the concentration camps shaped his destiny (Wiesel 7). This paper seeks to analyze Elie’s experiences in the concentration camps, and focuses on how the holocaust changed his life.
The book illustrates that before the attacks on the Jewish communities, Elie spent his childhood learning Jewish religious traditions. As such, his mother taught his many Judaism teachings. After the attack, Elie’s life changed completely. According to the book, experiences in the concentration camps changed his life as a Jew and as a man (Wiesel 56). The book notes that when the Jews were forced into the concentration camps, Elie and his family remained calm and obeyed every directive from their oppressors.
During their first day in the camp, Jews population increased with each passing hour. With an increase in the population, situations in the camp worsen. They were forced to live on minimal food and water. Further the book provides details on the third day, when the camps were filled with horrifying flames and stinking burnt flesh of those who had been killed by the German soldiers.
During the same day, the author’s mother and his three little sisters disappeared from the camp, and Elie and his father had an emotional trauma due to this. The author says that he continuously feared that his family members could have been killed. After losing his mother and sisters, Elie remained with his father who later died of dysentery. All through these experiences, Elie was emotionally affected.
In the camps, the Jews were physically affected by the poor living conditions. The book reveals that before the horrific experiences, the Jews were healthy. However, a few months after the attack, the Jews became emaciated. These conditions were escalated by the little food and water offered in the camps. Elie asserts that the quality and the amount of the food they gave him in the camps made him weak. Similarly, the author attributes their change in health to hard work conditions they endured in the concentration camps (Wiesel 24).
Before the holocaust, the author remarks that the Jews lived together in harmony and never fought against one another. However, in the concentration camps, enmity grew among the Jewish prisoners. The author attributed the enmity among the Jews to the scarcity of food in the camps. At one incidence, fellow Jewish prisoner fought with Elie’s father over a plate of soup and bread. After the fight, Elie abused his neighbors disregarding them for their behaviors.
More than once, Elie had to bribe their neighbors with bread and soup so that they could leave his father in peace. With respect to these behaviors, the effect concentration camps had on the Jews lives is revealed. In the book, we note that it is unusual for Jewish neighbors to fight one another. However, in the concentration camps, poor living conditions and inadequate food and water led to the rampant fights.
Another major effect the concentration camp had on the author and the Jews was their religion and faith. The author illustrated that before the holocaust, they believed that God was their protector. Through this perception, the Jews believed that God was always ready to punish the Jewish enemies.
Similarly, the book reveals that the Jews believed that everything that happened was attributed to God’s plans. For instance, Elie illustrated that when they heard the rumors of the planned horrific attacks against them, their rabbis consoled them asserting that God would not let anything bad happen to his people (Wiesel 46).
As a result, the Jewish community collectively believed that God was by their side and nothing bad would happen to them. However, during and after the holocaust experience many Jews doubted God. For instance, during the early days in the concentration camp the author believed that God was testing their faith. Some Jews believed that God was punishing them for their historical wrongdoings. Despite these injustices, the book notes that the Jews’ faith in God remained firm.
As days passed by, several Jews were killed and burnt publicly. With these occurrences, the author and some Jews began to doubt their faith in God. It was not until when he saw babies being thrown into the fire by the German soldiers that the author changed his perception about God completely. Since then, he rebelled against God and religion. He was shocked that the God they had faithfully served had allowed their oppressors to undertake such horrifying deeds against His people.
To him, God had remained silent to their prayers. The book notes that at the end of the holocausts, only few individuals still had faith in God. Many believed that God was a cruel being. The book illustrates how the energy once spent on worshiping and praising God was transferred to cursing, challenging, condemning, and denouncing God. At the end of the book, the author questioned whether man was God’s ally or a toy.
After being released from the concentration camp, Elie’s activities signified the effects the concentration camps had on him. In the book, it is detailed that as a young boy, Elie had never expected that one day he would be a writer. Instead, he thought that he would be a religious leader. However, the sufferings and the experiences in the concentration camps later forced him to be a writer. By being a writer, Elie has managed to detail his first hand experience during the holocaust.
After his release from the concentration camps, we realized that the author had no interests in religious studies anymore. Later, Elie became an activist challenging human oppression and injustices. All these acts have been motivated by his experiences in the concentration camps. It is alleged that the author married a holocaust victim. Through this, we can argue that the common experience the couple shared played a key role in their union. In general, Elie’s experiences in the concentration camp shaped his destiny.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang. 1982. Print.
Elizer’s Struggle to Keep Faith in God Essay
Elie Wiesel wrote the book ‘Night’ to express what he experienced in prison. It gives a detailed account of a horrible holocaust. In addition, faith is prominently explored in the book. It therefore plays an important role in the development of the story. This essay focuses on how Elie’s perceptions of God change as the book develops.
At the beginning of the book, Elie had a strong belief in God. He recalled the days he studied the Talmund and went to the synagogue at night to express his disappointment after its destruction. He then requested his father to assist him to find a master who could guide him to study cabbala.
However, the father argued that Elie was not old enough to study cabbala, but on his own, Elie looked for a master known as Moche. Moche tried to find out why Elie wept when he was praying but he replied that he did not know why it happened. He however said that he did it instinctively just as he ate without being prompted to eat.
Throughout the book, Elie’s faith changed several times, something that created a major conflict. He started with a strong belief in God but later denied him. However, his faith was strengthened before he left prison. At the beginning, Elie loved God unconditionally because of his background knowledge in Jewish mysticism. He remained faithful to God during deportation of the Jews and even made a thanksgiving prayer after their safe arrival at Auschwitz.
Elie’s faith started to change for the first time when he faced the risk of being burned together with his father. That marked the beginning of his doubts about God. However, as they approached the fire, he said, “May his name be blessed and magnified…” (Wiesel 43).This was an indication that although his faith had started to change, he still had faith in God.
After Elie went to prison, it was difficult for him to sustain his belief in God in an environment that was strange. He wondered how a God who loved his people allowed them to suffer. This made him think that having faith in God was not rewarding. While at Auschwitz, Elie struggled a lot because he had a feeling of defiance towards God but his faith encouraged him not to be defiant.
His faith started to decline when he said, “Why should I bless His name? What had I to thank him for?” (Wiesel 31). Elie believed that God existed but doubted that he was just. While in prison, he had lost hope of attaining freedom. It was also during that time that he started to lose faith in God.
Elie was lonely in prison because there was neither God nor man. As a result, he felt that he had more strength than God. When he was forcefully made to witness a child who was well-liked being killed, he asked, “Where is God Now?” (Wiesel 72). He became rebellious against God during preparations of Rosh Hashanah.
He did not see the reason why he was supposed to bless a God who had allowed the burning of many children. He also wondered why God had caused his people to go through continuous suffering. Elie questioned God and his faith numerous times throughout the book. However, this did not completely break him. He was able to come out of the holocaust with a stronger faith.
Wiesel, Elie. Night,. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. Print
Eliezer’s Struggle to Keep His Faith in God Essay
Faith entails loyalty to a person or thing or the secure belief in God, the Supreme Being, which goes hand in hand with a trusting acceptance of God’s will. There are various things that help us keep our faith in God while others tend to make us deviate from our belief. In this peace of work, we see how Eliezer Wiesel struggles to keep his faith in God in relation to what he faced in life and how his understanding of God changed.
The book, night, by Wiesel talks of the holocaust during the second world war when Hitler opted to make all the Jews suffer by sending them to extermination camps where they were subjected to very harsh treatment which in most cases caused death. “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself, Never” (Lombardi 1).
This shows the extent of the suffering. Eliezer Wiesel was lucky to have survived and he wrote of his experiences in the camp where they were poorly treated due to the fact that they were Jews and not because they had committed any offenses. It shows the awfulness he endured, for example, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a hostile world where humanity, faith and dignity were undermined (Wisel and Wisel 10). It shows the hardest life of human beings and how hope is essential in keeping us going.
The expression, ‘‘a universe where God betrayed his creatures and covered his face in order not to see’’ can be explained through the scenario where Job experienced a lot of suffering and illness as his faith was tested and also in Wiesel’s experiences in the concentrated camp. They both suffered having not committed any crime and God did not rescue them when they expected him to do so despite the fact that he had the Power.
Wiesel was a very strong believer and believed that God was everything and that He could save him from all evils. It was after he joined the camp that his faith decreased as he could not clearly understand why God could not rescue him and others that he deemed to have suffered more than he did, “I was thinking of my father. He must have suffered more than I did” (Lombardi 1). Despite the suffering, he never stopped believing in God completely, “I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.” (Lombardi 1).
Eliezer’s experience in the camp teaches us on the complexity of the journey of faith. It is through his experiences that he discovered that God is always present even in our suffering.
He therefore encourages us to always have hope in whatever we do having the confidence that no matter the challenges and suffering we experience in our lives, there is a powerful God working out good plans for us in mysterious ways which we cannot understand and that He wants the best for us. He also emphasizes on remembering the past for it is through this that we can see the far that God has brought us and have hope of having a better future.
Lombardi, Esther. “Night’ Quotes – Elie Wiesel.” About.com, 2011. 17 Feb. 2011. <https://www.thoughtco.com/night-quotes-elie-wiesel-740880>
Wisel, Elie and Wisel, Marion. Night. New York: Penguin Group, 2008.