Night is a story by Elie Wiesel in which the writer accounts for the horrible experience he had with his father during the time of the Holocaust. Throughout the novel, Wiesel reproduces the details of his staying in the Nazi German concentration camp during the Second World War. The protagonist of the story, a Jewish Orthodox boy Eliezer faces a rigorous struggle for the sake of his faith in God.
However, at the end of the story, the hero declines his faith because he cannot believe that God permits such cruelty and horrors. When Eliezer witnesses horrible pictures, his hatred, and disgust for humanity increases. The confrontation is specifically represented in Eliezer’s relations with his father. Thus, the hero’s fight to remain committed to God is the core conflict in the book.
At the beginning of the story, the protagonist’s faith in God is unconditional and omnipotent. The protagonist does not hesitate to constantly glorify the Lord and emphasize his absolute power. In the book, the Eliezer proclaims, “Why did I pray?… Why did I live? Why did I breathe?” (Wiesel 2).
He is fully committed to his religious beliefs and, therefore, the hero cannot imagine the world without divine power controlling it. The strength of Eliezer’s faith, however, is unquestionable until the boy lives in Signet. He holds an image his home and stays within his own world enriched with the divine grace (Bloom 107). Being a child, Eliezer is inclined to believe in miracles, as well in the power of the Creator.
Further experiences that the main hero encounters distort his expectations and hopes because he has to face cruelty, murders, and grid on the part of the Nazi. The concentration camps become the place where Eliezer ceases believing in the rule of God. When he witnesses the evil during the Holocaust, the hero wonders why an omnipotent and benevolent God permits this and can be part of this depravity and moral degradation. The selfishness and malice of the prisoners also become a turning point in his religious persuasions.
Despite his desperate attempts to believe in the essential goodness of humanity, the pressures, tortures, and famine shake his faith and do not allow him to remain committed to God anymore. In this book, Eliezer argues, “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust” (Wiesel IX). The constant questioning of the power of God and His duty to protect them from the evil fails as soon as the hero enters a new reality of the concentration camp.
At the end of the story, Wiesel resorts to the analysis of religious shifts in the hero’s consciousness, as well as his failure to cope with the horrible pictures at the concentration camp. Eliezer gives up his faith and declines the power of God. He expresses his rejection of religion after his father’s death. In such a way, the writer emphasizes the loss of memory of God in the book (Horowitz 108).
In conclusion, the book Night reflects a sophisticated struggle of the main hero with his faith in God. Throughout the story, Eliezer questions the omnipotence of the Divine rule and fails to find rescue in religion. Witnessing the horrors of the war, the boy abandons his faith and expresses his utmost disgust with humanity. The book, therefore, is a complex interpretation of the author’s experience of staying in the Nazi Germany concentration camps.
Bloom, Harold. Night – Elie Wiesel. US: Inforbase Publishing, 2009. Print.
Horowitz, Rosemary. Elie Wiesel and the Art of Storytelling. US: McFarland, 2006. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. US: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.