Night illustrates the life of Elie Wiesel and his father in the Nazi concentration camps during the World War II (Rucco 3). In the concentration camps, they underwent through cruel and brutal situations. The situations affected and changed their relationship in a number of ways.
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After being taken to the camps, Wiesel and his father portray the conventional father and son relationship. In this relationship, the father is depicted protecting and offering advice to his son. Consequently, the son is depicted being entirely dependent on him. The author asserts that he remembers walking with his father while clinging to his hand (Wiesel 29). All through their early days at the camp, the author’s behaviors and thoughts reveal his dependence on the father.
During a selection process at the camps, he requests the security officers to let him stay with his father (Wiesel 48). Over time, the two began to develop a peer like affiliation. In a peer like relationship, the parties are required to help another overcome their common challenges and create codependency. The author depicts them staying and caring out their daily chores together, afraid of losing another. As such, they request for similar chores, reside in similar building, and share foodstuffs. On one occasion, Wiesel’s father is beaten for failing to march as required by the authorities. After the beatings, Wiesel is depicted teaching his father how to march as required. In this type of relationship, Wiesel is portrayed playing a responsibility of a teacher.
In the mid of their stay in the concentration camps, the two again portray a codependency. For the period of Rashashana, Wiesel refuses to be happy. Other than condemning him, his father understood him. Wiesel reveals, “At this time, I felt a tear drop on my palm” (68 Wiesel). He asserts that because of this he felt as if they had never understood each other plainly before as they did on that day. Through this episode, the author depicts a period of complete awareness. Wiesel’s acts and thoughts indicate that he perceived his father as an equal fellow friend.
Close to their stay at the camps, the author depicts Wiesel and his father portraying a reversal in their responsibilities. As such, Wiesel began to behave like a father. On the other hand, his father began to display childish behaviors. After returning from a marathon to Gleiwitz, Wiesel realized that his father had transformed his behaviors unlike when they first came to the camp. He notes, “He had turned naive, feeble, frightened, and defenseless like a child” (Wiesel 105).
The author illustrates that the father’s behaviors changed as he increased his dependency on his son (Wiesel 278). On one occasion, the two spent a night apart. The following morning, the son nervously goes looking for him around the camp. By doing so, he is depicted walking around the camp searching for Chlomo as a father would do when looking for a lost child. When he finally finds him, he states, “Father! I have been searching for you all over. Where were you? Did you have enough sleep?” (Wiesel 106). Through this, Wiesel is depicted being concerned about his father’s current conditions. Throughout the remaining part of the book, the author portrays Wiesel dedicating his time and energy to keep his father alive.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the above situations were the main cause of changes between the author and his fathers. In the book, the relationships between the author and his father change drastically (Levine 12). As such, Wiesel takes the responsibility of being a parent to his ailing father. By doing so, he realizes that although his ailing father was no longer able to take care of him, he still hoped for the best for his son.
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Levine, Gloria. Night, by Elie Wiesel: teacher guide. San Antonio, TX: Novel Units, 2000. Print.
Rucco, Alison. A student’s guide to Night by Elie Wiesel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.