In his book “Night”, Elie Wiesel shares his experience of surviving some of the most tragic experiences in the history of humanity which is the Holocaust. Throughout the book, the audience may see a number of important themes, and one of them is the theme of Eliezer’s struggle to keep his faith in God. The book’s main hero, Eliezer, who represents Elie Wiesel himself, belongs to the Hebrew religion. In the first part of the book, we see him as a young man of strong faith; however, with the duration of time, and the abundance of suffering, Eliezer’s faith is gone. Despite his unbelievable efforts to be strong in his faith including regular prayers, meditating on the examples of faithful people from the past such as Job, etc., Eliezer suffers defeat under the pressure of the Nazi system and loses his faith in God.
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Initially, we meet the main character of “Night” as a young man of a strong faith who is regular in his prayers to God, and always trusts in him in the most complicated circumstances. Whatever happens, Eliezer is fast to remember about God, and especially if something good is happening, he comments that this is a miracle from God (Gorsky 135). His faith in God is very strong at that time. The following comment reveals the facts of how strong his faith in God is initially, “once, I had believed profoundly that upon one solitary deed of mine, one solitary prayer, depended the salvation of the world” (Wiesel 64-65). Truly, when Eliezer is taken to the concentration camp, he believes that his faith in God is so strong that it will save him, and even the whole world around him.
Later, as Eliezer is subjected to an endless chain of terrible sufferings, his faith in God becomes shaken. He compares himself with Job, the man of faith that lived during the times of Moses, and had to suffer the loss of his material riches, the death of his children, and a terrible disease resulting in the decay of his body (Dabija 232). In the beginning, Eliezer is encouraged by the Job’s example, but later
he gives up, and starts condemning God in the every bad occurrence around him. We read:
Why, but why should I bless him? In every fiber I rebelled. Because He had had thousands of children burned in His pits? Because He kept six crematories working night and day, on Sundays and feast days? Because in His great might He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna and so many factories of death?” (Wiesel 64).
This phrase reminds of Job’s words, written in the Biblical book of Job by Moses. Here, Eliezer paraphrases Job’s saying, but his mood is much worse than the one that Job had.
Eliezer’s moral breakdown begins. Eventually, this breakdown leads to a total loss of his faith in God. In the final part of the book, we read: “My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God” (Wiesel 105). Thus, in the end of his awful road through the concentration camps, Eliezer becomes an atheist.
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In conclusion, Eliezer is represented as a very religious person initially. He always remembers about God, he is sure in his strength and desire to help his people, and he blesses God and praises him. However, under the pressure of terrible trials, Eliezer becomes atheist, and believes there is no God at all.
Dabija, Nicoleta. “Job’s Sufferance. An “Affection” And Several Interpretations.” Philobiblon: Transylvanian Journal Of Multidisciplinary Research In Humanities 16.1 (2011): 230-244. Print.
Gorsky, Jonathan. “Elie Wiesel, Hasidism And The Hiddenness Of God.” New Blackfriars 85.996 (2004): 133-143. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. United States: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.