Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, recalls about his experiences as a young Jewish boy; throughout the events and occurrences, Eliezer develops new relationships with his father as they surpass challenges they faced on their journey towards freedom. This paper addresses how Eliezer’s relations with his father change throughout the novel.
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Wiesel’s book, Night, portrays Eliezer as an innocent child, who was an observant Jew. “I was almost thirteen and deeply observant. By day, I studied Talmud and by night I would run to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the Temple” (Wiesel 18). Eliezer enters the concentration camp as a child. He is holding his father’s hand innocently. “My hand tightened its grip on my father. All I could think of was not to lose him. Not to remain alone” (Wiesel 38). Life events and occurrences lead to renewed relationships between Eliezer and his father.
Inside the camp, the Germans would slaughter the Jews. Eliezer experienced starvation, mental and physical abuse; the experience resulted in a change in relationship with his father. Before the Nazi camps experiences, Eliezer had never been that close to his father; it is through the hardships they underwent together that they began to bond. At the camp, Eliezer tightly held his father’s hand. This reveals how he did not want to lose his father. Both Eliezer and his father got separated from their mother and sibling.
Their stay at Nazi camp and the oppression they face make them bond more and their relationship becomes extremely valuable. Elie showed great determination to live with the father. However, the oppression and events at Nazi were slowly killing the bond between father and son. The progress at the camp caused the relationship changes from a father-son relationship to a peer like a relationship. Elie was cooperating with his father at the camp in order to achieve and get some tasks done.
This is evidenced when Elie teaches his father how to march: “I decided to give my father lessons in marching, in step, in keeping time. We began practicing in front of our block. I would command: “Left, right” and my father would try” (Bloom 57).
During this stage of the relationship, the father gets teachings and advice from the son. The forty two-mile runs to Gleiwitz was vital for the development of Elie and father peer like a relationship. They promised to take turns watching over each other. At this time, Elie noticed the reversed roles. His father had become childlike, getting some advice from the son. After the night, the son went looking for his father the same way his father looks for his son. The questions Elie asks Chlomo shows the concern about him.
Time progresses at the Nazi camp. The bond between Elie and his father still exists. There is a noticeable aspect of the reversed roles where son shows care for the father. Eliezer’s father was selected to participate in the death marches. This made Elie ceaselessly worry about his father until he passed the decisive selection. Elie believed that his father’s presence encouraged him to keep going. When his father was selected again, they are rounded in the back of the cattle cars. Elie’s father was weak, and he was thought to be dead. Elie slapped his father hard so as to make him move and give a sign that he is still alive. The bond between son and father proved to be strong against all the horrors and oppression at the camp.
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The relationship kept Eliezer living. Elie loses the will to live when his father is beaten up to death. “My father was pleading: my son, water… I’m burning up… My insides…” (Wiesel et al. 96). He regrets leaving his father to die alone calling out his son’s name.
Bloom, Harold. Night – Elie Wiesel, New York: Infobase Pub, 2001. Internet resource.
Wiesel, Elie. Night, Norwalk, Conn: Easton Press, 1996. Print.
Wiesel, Elie, and Wiesel Marion. Night, New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Print.