Children normally are the centerpiece of society. They are treated with love and lots of affection as they are the originators of joy in the families. At this tender age, a child is meant to learn the ways of society which in most cases constitute the norms and virtues of social co-existence (Folger 77). In his teens, Eliezer is a perfect embodiment of a child growing up in a perfect society.
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Being Jewish, he learns the Bible and takes private classes in Cabbala, a set of guidelines of the Jewish spirituality. Sometime later, he is interested in being a noble member of the society. Judaism is a belief that promotes love and peaceful coexistence among its adherents. The people of Sighet had never experienced either war or civil strife and cannot possibly believe it when Moshe the Beadle relays the horrific tales of murder that he experienced on his way home.
The peace of the village is brought to an abrupt end as the Nazis seize the entire region. Children, the old and those of weak health are senselessly murdered and the rest that is of stable physical condition is captured and transported to some unknown lands. More Jewish are murdered while those fit the system and are sent to hard labor in the fields.
The peace and love that the young Eliezer had grown with come to an end henceforth. The horror that displays itself thereafter is traumatizing and one that the young boy cannot easily comprehend. He witnesses his father, whom he loves very much, being savagely treated and his villagers being murdered right within his view (Bloom 56).
The little boy who has gone to bed is a child wakes up only to find his childhood gone by. He is psychologically unprepared for the things his new condition forces him to witness, his friends are no longer there and he is left to fend for himself and make sure that he survives. Death is one thing he can not possibly risk yet. The reality that it looms in the air all the time makes him acquire all the necessary skills to make himself live even if just for another single day. His strong physical state secures him a spot in the fields where he works as a forced laborer.
The means of survival become progressively scarce, the boy has witnessed enough madness and very slowly he loses his hold on society and morality. The things that have mattered the most to him are no longer of significance. The love he used to have for people is lost. He is now preoccupied with ensuring that only he is the one who survives. The only person he seems to care for now is his beloved father whose fate keeps bringing him together.
A few months in the madness and after losing his father to a deadly disease, the Eliezer that left his village in Sighet is completely gone. The one that remains now is a man who does not believe in God anymore and all the teachings of the Torah that he formerly held dear have become insignificant and long forgotten, and he only cares for himself now. One day after the war is over, he looks at himself in the mirror and mutters to himself that he does not recognize the image staring back at him. This is figuratively employed to refer to all the values and norms that he lost in the course of the war (Wiesel and Marion 134).
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Bloom, Harold. Night – Elie Wiesel. New York: Infobase Pub, 2001. Internet resource.
Folger, Poole. Working Through Conflict – Strategies for Relationships, Groups and Organizations. New York: Longman Publishers group, 1996. Print.
Wiesel, Elie, and Marion Wiesel. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.