Marion Wiesel’s book titled “Night” has done a commendable job not only in documenting historical truths about some physical events that happened during the Holocaust, but also attempting to create an emotional picture of the grotesque events experienced by individuals during that time.
The book avidly demonstrates how the most fundamental beliefs of some of main characters, including their faith in God, were shaken to the core by the Holocaust and also how the horrible experiences acted to substantially shift their emotional relationships with other people. The present paper explains how Eliezer’s relationship with his father shifts throughout the book with the view to demonstrating how the Holocaust solidified their relationship.
In the beginning of the book, it is evident that Eliezer had a somewhat cold relationship with his father, who appeared to have been entrapped in the provision of community services as a leader and hence “more concerned with others than with his own family” (Wiesel 2).
During the early phases of the book, it is evident that Eliezer demonstrated remorse and even plain bitterness to his father for sharing very little time with the family due to his busy schedule as an esteemed Jewish community leader in Sighet (Wiesel 4). Indeed, Eliezer demonstrated little affection to his father even as the latter put the safety of his family at risk by ignoring the cautions about the coming danger and preferring to stay close to his community.
The relationship between Eliezer and his father suddenly improved as they were taken to the Burkenau concentration camp by the Nazis, with a critical analysis of the events around the camp showing that the two were forced to reconsider and value their relationship due to physical, spiritual and emotional turmoil.
The continued horrors and hardships in concentration centers reinforced the relationship between Eliezer and his father, and both were able to replace the alienation and coldness prevalent in their former relationship with a sense of protection for and closeness to each other. On one occasion during the ushering of the New Year, Wiesel depicts a father and son who could now comfort each other and share their problems as they became closer and understood each other more clearly than ever before (Wiesel 68-69).
The physical, emotional, and spiritual ordeals experienced in various concentration camps served to solidify the relationship between Eliezer and his father even further, demonstrating the need to hold together during times of crisis. This view is consistent with the observation that many human beings cultivate deeper relationships with each other during times of trouble, and that people can actually improve a relationship “by facing up to its problems” (Qualliam 17).
However, the relationship between the pair was tested again when Eliezer’s father contracted dysentery and Eliezer started to demonstrate negative feelings about having to take care of his ailing father and even started to consider taking his rations (Wiesel 108).
The love-hate relationship between the two is demonstrated by how Eliezer often thought of his father as being responsible for reducing his likelihood of survival in the horrendous environment, while at the same time having a perception that his father provided the needed impetus to continue living (Wiesel 109-110).
To conclude, it is evident that the Holocaust served to establish and reinforce the relationship between Eliezer and his father, and that this relationship acted as a pillar of strength for the two during their most difficult times. Although Eliezer showed no emotions during his father’s last moments of life, it is clear that their relationship had been firmly solidified by the Holocaust and assisted Eliezer to retain his humanity despite the horrendous experiences.
Qualliam, Susan. Staying Together: From Crisis to Deeper Commitment. London: Vermilion, 2001. Print.
Wiesel, Marion. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.