Eliezer’s has a very close relationship with his father in the beginning. However, the relationship between Eliezer and his father, Chlomo, change in the course of the novel. Initially, Eliezer and his father have a close relationship, even if Chlomo is very dedicated to the community, and Chlomo does not have time for his family (Wiesel 15).
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Eliezer had much love and respect for his father just as everyone in the society. Further on in this novel, Eliezer and his father drift further apart. At some point, Eliezer starts to view his father as a burden. At the end, Eliezer has no tears to shed when his father dies (Wiesel 75). However, it is the tribulations that they were subjected to that acted to break the bond between the two. The Jews underwent a lot of suffering in the concentration camp, and they were punished severely. Indeed, they were in constant danger of dying (Ruth 45).
Eliezer’s Relationship with his Father
At the beginning, Eliazer and his father do not have a firm relationship. Eliezer feels that his father is more devoted to the community than his family. However, when he is separated from his mother and three sisters, Eliezer holds on to his father since he is the only family member left. He feels that he will need his father just as his father will need him to survive (Wiesel 20).
In the concentration camps, things are very tough (Ruth 73). Every man cares for his own survival, and family bonds start breaking. However, Eliezer still feels close to his father, and he does not want to leave him. At some point, he prays that he may never leave his father. He does this when he witnesses Rabbi Eliahou’s son running ahead so that he may not travel with his father. He believes that being with his father, they will help each other to continue moving.
Towards the end of the novel, the relationship between the two tends to weaken. This happens on the side of Eliezer. He hangs on to his father who has dysentery, and at some point, he wishes that he could get rid of him (his father). This makes him feel guilty, and he hangs on more to his father. He does not shed tears when his father dies, and he feels free. However, he is unable to have any feelings after his father dies. It can be said that, with the death of his father, Eliezer died emotionally (Wiesel 80).
The events in the novel show how Jews were subjected to suffering and inhuman acts (Ruth 81). They had no otherwise but to hang on where they could find love. This love could only be given by family members since they cared for each other. Therefore, the Jews formed bonds with their family members in the concentration camp, and this way they could alleviate their suffering.
At the death camps, Eliezer and his father were very close. They were inseparable, and they cared for each other. They could not allow anything to weaken or divide them. Eliezer and his father would die for each other. Eventually, his father died, and Eliezer was a witness to it. Eliezer never forgave himself for failing to stand by his father when the SS man beat his father to death (James 107).
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James,Harry. Telling the Tale: A Tribute to Elie Wiesel. USA: Time Being Books, 1993.
Ruth, Franklin. A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
Wiesel, Elie. Night, New York: Bantam Books 1982.