|Essay type:||Book review|
|Categories:||Character analysis Night Essays by pagecount Holocaust|
Elie Wiesel’s “Night” is a mixture of testimony, deposition, and an emotional truth-telling story that touches on the events of the holocaust that happened to Wiesel himself. Eliezer narrates the story as one of the characters in the book of how the Nazis invaded Hungary and reigned terror. The author addresses issues of inhumanity, faith, and family bonds in his book. It is, therefore, important to discuss how inhumanity, questioning faith, and family bond themes are depicted in the story.
The theme of inhumanity by humans towards their fellow humans is evident in the book. The Nazis were extremely cruel towards the Jews, treating them to inhumane conditions. Eliezer cannot make sense of the world anymore. Even his fellow prisoners who are expected to be in solidarity due to being together in a crisis are inflicting cruelty towards one another. Humans had become quite mindful only of personal interests (Nelson and Walter 18). He becomes aware of how cruel he can also be. His experience in this war shows him just how cruelty has prevailed in the human race.
Among his experiences was the invasion of the Nazis. The invaders, who appeared good at first, separated his kin from him while persecuting them. This experience even shook Eliezer's faith in all things around him. He viewed the Nazis from a human point of view. He failed to understand what can lead a human to slaughter millions of innocent people.
Furthermore, night explains how the cruelty of the Nazis built cruelty amongst the prisoners who were supposed to be comforting each other. That is evident when Kapo tells Eliezer that every man has to work for himself at the prison. There is no point in thinking of anyone else, even your family members. Kapo, who had been placed in charge of the other prisoners, aided the mission of the Nazis by being cruel to their fellow inmates. Kapo's position clearly showed just how the oppressors' cruelty was bred on the victims as everyone struggled to save their skin.
Brought up under the studies of Jewish mysticism, Eliezer grew up knowing that God was everywhere in the world and that everything in the world was a reflection of the divine world. He was taught that everything in the world was a true reflection of God's power and holiness. He believed that God's divinity touched all aspects of his daily life, and the world is a good place since God is everywhere.
However, his strong faith in God is brought to question by the event of the Holocaust. All the evil and cruelty he witnessed during that period make him question many aspects of his faith. How could God allow all that form of cruelty that happened from his capture to the camps that they were locked in? He wanted to view the Nazis as the evil party in the events that were going on. However, he also saw how the holocaust exposed his fellow Jews as cruel, selfish, and evil (Wiesel 85). It became clear that everyone around him was evil, meaning the world must be so cruel and disgusting. Since God is around the whole world, He too must be cruel and disgusting or yet not exist at all.
Thought the occurrences at the camp take a toll on him, he struggles not to lose or diminish his belief in God completely. He even reflects biblical passages to reflect on events that were happening. When Moishe the Beadle questioned his reasons for praying, he tells him that he is asking for strength from God to ask the necessary questions. Even though the holocaust had taken a toll on him, he emerges at the end of it with his faith still intact.
The rupture of family bonds in the camp that was caused by horrific selfishness disgust Eliezer. He mentions several occasions in which fathers are mistreated by their sons. He narrates an ordeal he witnesses on the train to Buchenwald, where a father was beaten to death by his sone in a fight for food. Another was in his conclusion on the motives of the son of Rabbi Eliahou and his discussion of Pipel, who happened to abuse his father (Wiesel 63). All these ordeals were a break of family bonds due to the cruelty that people acquired from their oppressors. The sons had no choice but to sacrifice their fathers for them to survive in the comps. This was a reversal of roles compared to the bible story where Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son.
The relationship between Eliezer and his father shows clearly that his solidarity and love are stronger forces than the instinct for self-preservation. When Eliezer felt like giving up, he always reflected on his father. He did not want to leave him looking at himself as the only support his father had.
In conclusion, Wiesel’s story showed people just how inhumane humans can be to each other and how cruelty can be passed from an oppressor to the oppressed. He showcases just how he managed to come out of the holocaust with his faith stronger even after he experienced mind-blowing experiences.
Nelson, Peter Lothian, and Walter E. Block. "Man’s Inhumanity to Man." Space Capitalism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018. 13-26.
Wiesel, Elie. Night: A Memoir. Hill and Wang, 2017.
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