Introduction: Back to the Biblical Legends. Job and Eliezer
Testing the faith is not a new issue to talk about – it is basically as old as the hills, sine even the Bible mentions the instances when a man was tested to prove that he actually was a hardcore believer. An incredibly powerful means to impress the readers that God is really almighty and that it takes guts to be really true to your faith is what such legends are best at.
Taking a new perspective on the issue, Wiesel explores his own story to show the power of true faith. And, although the story has a powerful effect on the readers and an effective payback, it is still doubtful that Eliezer after his ordeal is the same Eliezer at the beginning of the story. Whether his faith changes and how exactly it does is a tricky question worth learning the answer to.
Eliezer and Job: When a Legend Collides with Reality
Speaking of the way Eliezer changes and how his faith in God is tested, it will be a good idea to take a look back at the original Biblical story. According to the Bible, Job’s faith was tested while the former was trapped in the stomach of a whale. In his story, Wiesel drives a parallel between the Biblical Job and the man losing his faith while staying in Auschwitz. For instance, Davis describes Wiesel as “the Job of Auschwitz” (Davis 53).
Things Start to Get Complicated: The Tension. Making the Right Choice
It is quite important that at the beginning of the story, Eliezer portrays himself as the true believer: “Why did I pray? Strange question. Why did I live? Why did I breathe?” (Wiesel xvii). However, as time passes by, the lead character starts to lose his faith, realizing that he is slowly approaching his death end: “Why should I bless his name? The eternal, lord of the universe, the all-powerful and terrible was silent” (31).
When Changes Take Their Toll: There Is No Way to Return
It must be admitted that at some point, the lead character almost denies his faith. As Eliezer says, “I no longer pleaded for anything. I was no longer able to lament. On the contrary, I felt very strong. I was the accuser, God the accused” (15). It seems that there is no turning back. However, there is still one thing remaining to keep him away from ceasing to believe.
Learning to Accept the Mysterious Ways of God
However, in the course of a long and desperate argument with his own self, the author comes to understanding that the issue is more complex than it might seem. Eliezer realizes that the ways of God are more mysterious than they seem on the surface: “Man raises himself towards God by the questions he asks Him… That is the true dialogue. Man questions God and Go answers. But we don’t understand His answers…” (Wiesel 257).
Conclusion: When the Ordeal is too Painful to Take
Therefore, it is clear that the experience which Eliezer had was not in vain – not only did it test his faith, but also taught him to accept his fate as God designed it and in the way a real believer would, without questioning it or trying to change it; rather, Eliezer manages to change his attitude towards what has happened. This is not a complete rejection of faith, but another stage of Eliezer’s spiritual development.
Bloom, Harold. Night – Elie Wiesel, New York City, NY: Infobase Publishing, 2009. Print.
Davis, Colin. Elie Wiesel’s Secretive Texts, Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1994. Print.
Wiesel, E, 2010, Night, Straus and Giroux. Viewed 30 September 2012, via NOOK Library.