How Eliezer’s relationship with his father changes throughout the book?
Eliezer and his father Shlomo are the main characters of Elie Wiesel’s novel Night. In spite of the fact many issues associated with the Holocaust and the people living in concentration camps are discussed in the novel, the author pays much attention to depicting the evolution of the relationships between Eliezer and his father. Eliezer experiences a lot of changes in his visions, the life situation, his relations with God, but the most important changes are connected with his attitude to Shlomo.
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Being in a concentration camp, Eliezer and his father understand their deep connection which is dependent on their blood, and the significance of this connection cannot be broken under the impact of any circumstances and challenges.
The first pages of the book make the readers think that there are no close relations between Eliezer and his father because they do not understand each other, their opinion is not significant, Eliezer does not feel respect for his father because he is not interested in his family, and Shlomo considers his son as too young to have his own vision (Hernandez). They are too distant from each other, but this distance becomes invisible when Eliezer and his father are in a concentration camp where they can rely only on themselves as the closest people in the world. They begin to trust each other, and this feeling helps them to overcome the challenges of the situation (Seidman).
Thus, Eliezer observes the relations within the camp and understands that he can never betray his father and he is inclined to pray, “My God, Lord of the Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son has done” (Wiesel 87). However, when Shlomo dies, Eliezer is under the impact of the situation again, and it is easier for him to avoid thinking about his father and focus on himself.
What is the significance of the book’s final image, Wiesel’s face, reflected in a mirror?
Eliezer’s experience in the concentration camp changed him mentally, spiritually, and physically. There could not be that young boy anymore because it is impossible to forget all those challenges and dangerous situations that he experienced (Weissman). Now Eliezer saw the face of a corpse, and it was similar to those faces of corpses that he saw coming to the camp. This image reflected the experience the young man had. Moreover, it is possible to speak only about the image because concentration camps destroyed his hopes and almost killed him as a personality. The significance of the final image is in its symbolic meaning because those people who survived in the camps cannot live their ordinary life in the same way as it was before their experience (Anderson).
Eliezer wanted to know what features his appearance acquired. “I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto” (Wiesel 109). Looking at the mirror, Eliezer could notice that he lost his naivety and even when he became free he was not free as a person anymore because of the great feeling of responsibility, and despair. His survival did not make him happy and changed all his life. It only made him be like a corpse who survived but did not get freedom from his memories (Fienberg).
Anderson, Mark M. “The Child Victim as Witness to the Holocaust: An American Story?”. Jewish Social Studies 14.1 (2007): 1-22. Print.
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Fienberg, Nona. “Gazing into the Mirror of Wiesel’s Night, Together”. Pedagogy 9.1 (2009): 167-175. Print.
Hernandez, Alexander A. “Telling the Tale: Sharing Elie Wiesel’s Night with Middle-School Readers”. The English Journal 91.2 (2001): 54-60. Print.
Seidman, Naomi. “Elie Wiesel and the Scandal of Jewish Rage”. Jewish Social Studies 3.1 (1996): 1-19. Print.
Weissman, Gary. Fantasies of Witnessing: Postwar Efforts to Experience the Holocaust. USA: Cornell University Press, 2004. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. USA: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.