The relationship between Eliezer and his father in the memoir Night by Elie Wiesel is interesting because of the way the relationship strengthens and weakens over the course of the book. The relationship is also interesting because of the way Eliezer allows others (inmates, Kapos, etc. ) to affect the way he feels towards his father. In Night, the relationship between Eliezer and his father is, at first, not strong.
This is shown when Eliezer rebels against his fathers wishes of not studying Kabbalah and seeks guidance for this subject from the town hobo, Moishe the Beadle: “And Moishe the Beadle, the poorest of the poor of Sighet, spoke to me for hours on end about the Kabbalah’s revelations and its mysteries. ” (Section 1, Paragraph 5, Page 5). Eliezer’s father is a highly respected and very intelligent man and his opinion on public and private matters is often sought after in their community, Eliezer however, describes his father as “a rather unsentimental man” and “more involved with the welfare of others than with that of his own kin. (Section 1, Paragraph2, Page 4).
This makes the relationship between Eliezer and his father interesting because even though their relationship is weak, his father still play a big part in telling Eliezer what he can and cannot do and the role of his life in the family – “my place was in the house of study, or so they said” (Section 1, Paragraph 3, Page 4) During their time together in Auschwitz, Eliezer and his father begin to grow closer. Eliezer demonstrates this when asked if he would like to be placed into a good Kommando and he replies with: “of course.
But on one condition: I want to stay with my father. ” (Section 4, Page 48, Paragraph 2). This may be because any strength and support they have left could only be found in each other: “My father’s presence was the only thing that stopped me [from allowing myself to die] … I had no right to let myself die. What would he do without me? I was his sole support” (Section 6, Page 87, Paragraph 1) This makes the relationship more intriguing because it almost seems like Eliezer and his father are only continuing to live so the other has the strength to live too.
By the time Eliezer and his father reach Gleiwitz, Eliezer’s father is dying and becoming increasingly weaker. Eliezer is now constantly looking after his father and giving him most of his rations, though is seems, Eliezer is doing this grudgingly: “I gave him what was left of my soup. But my heart was heavy. ” (Section 9, Page 107, Paragraph 3). This is most likely due to the influence of other inmates and what the Blockalteste told him about Auschwitz being a place where it is every man for himself: “Listen to me, kid. Don’t forget you are in a concentration camp.
In this place, it is every man for himself, and you cannot think about others … In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother … You cannot help him anymore. ” (Section 9, Page 110, Paragraph 3). This makes their relationship interesting because Eliezer, though he loves his father dearly, is now stuck between the choice of continuing to nurse his father, or to let him die. A hard choice for anyone to make. A strong theme that comes through in Night that readers can see from Eliezer and his father’s relationship is the importance of strong father-son/family bonds.
Three times Eliezer discusses moments that destroyed a bond between father and son. He states that these moments were brought upon them by the conditions of which the prisoners were forced to live in and to endure, these moments when a son sacrificed his father to save himself – the pipel abusing his father, the boy killing his father for a mere crust of bread, and the horrible motives of Rabbi Eliahou’s son. All of this is interesting in contrast to Eliezer and his father’s bond because their relationship demonstrates love and solidarity: “We’ll take turns.
I’ll watch over you and you’ll watch over me. ” (Section 8, Page 88, Paragraph 3). Their relationship shows us that love is a strong force of survival, much stronger than man’s instinct for self-preservation. In conclusion, the relationship between Eliezer and his father is interesting because of the way the relationship is shaped over the course of the book by different events. Their relationship strengthens in Auschwitz, is weakened momentarily by the actions of other inmates in Buchenwald, but comes through strong in the end because of their love for each other.
Courtney from Study Moose
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