When under serious pressure of life whoever is not broken? Whoever is not shaken, embarrassed and confused? Who will be able to save one’s spiritual heart from a “shipwreck of faith” which is described by Apostle Paul in his writings to the first century Christians? Sort of a “shipwreck of faith”, this is what has happened to the author of “Night” book, laureate of the Nobel Prize, Elie Wiesel. He honestly describes these dramatic changes which have occurred in him under the pressure of life hardships. The readers meet young Wiesel as an embodiment of faith and devotion to God, and at the end of the book, they see him be shaken and questioning not only God’s motives and entire personality but even his very existence.
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Throughout the whole book, the way Wiesel changes his understanding of God can be explored. To see these changes, in particular, it is important to address different stages of Wiesel’s life including his adolescence, and his later years of life. While in his early years of life Wiesel demonstrates exceptional love, devotion, loyalty, and zeal for God. His mind and heart are full of goals and desires directed to drawing closer to God and learning ever more about his holy personality. The book tells that young Wiesel devotes a lot of time to his studies of the Talmud. One of his intimate and sacramental dreams is studying the Cabala. So, in this initial stage of his life, we meet Wiesel as an innocent, religious, and devoted to Godman of faith and zeal.
As time is passing by, and Wiesel finds himself in the most challenging circumstances, dramatic changes occur in his way of thinking and his entire world perception. When in the concentration camp of Auschwitz, Wiesel faces the most terrible things he could ever even think of before. Every single day he is subjected to the hardest work during long hours, lack of food, extremely low temperatures, and the cruelest attitude by the camp’s minders (Elie Wiesel par.32). He is well aware of the fact that in case he is found weak or infirmed he will be thrown into a gas camera or just thrown away as a sack of garbage into a special pit. All these saddest circumstances make him really think about God, his feelings about his creatures, and even his very existence (Elie Wiesel – Biography par.18). His former soul-stirring attitude to God melts away like ice cream on a sunny day. He asks, “Why should I bless His name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank Him for” (Wiesel 31).
In conclusion, the book “Night” written by Elie Wiesel shows dramatic changes which have occurred within his personality under the pressure of the saddest things in life he had to face in the concentration camp of Auschwitz. Initially, the readers meet him as the most faithful and loyal person to God, the embodiment of faith, zeal, and integrity; however, in his later years, he can be described as a man of shaken faith, questioning not only God’s motives and entire personality but even his very existence. Though there exist opinions that Wiesel managed to save his faith, I do not think so. It can be said so for numerous reasons, I believe, and especially his phrase about God’s existence and personality during his interview as the Nobel Prize laureate supports this.
Elie Wiesel. n. d.
“Elie Wiesel – Biography”. Nobelprize.org.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. United States: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.
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