Fear and Foresight – Essay
Fear and Foresight – Essay
Fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger” (Webster‘s dictionary). Fear is also the best way to disrupt one’s foresight creating corrupted decisions. To achieve this level of understanding, so that one’s decisions will be made effectively, one must understand him or herself well enough to be able to cut out the emotion and think rationally. Recalling experiences from the holocaust Fear tended to come when there was no hope or faith in the novel Night, by award winning author Elie Wiesel. Within this novel, about his own experiences during the war, Elie is thrown into a concentration camp where he is whipped, beaten, fatigued, starved, deprived, loses his faith, and ultimately loses his entire family all because he was a Jew.
While living in the camps Elie eventually begins to fear death resulting in the slow deterioration of his relationship with his father. This happened because his own frail humanity succumbed to the need of survival. This type of intense Fear surfaces when the optimism in one’s life does not, thus leaving behind an atmosphere of corrupted foresight ending in life altering decisions one will regret.
After being put into the ghetto Elie finds strength as he still retains his faith and his family unity. The slow dissipation of Elie’s family begins when he first arrives at the labour camp but, remarkably, his faith remains intact at this point. His sister and mother are taken from him and within the camp he even says “Thank God!” (Wiesel 33) after seeing other friends and acquaintances still alive. There is still unity here and there is still faith keeping everyone’s choices and perceptions of the future clear.
The beginning of fear and corruption in one’s self starts when Elie is overcome by the fear of getting hurt and not worrying about the one person that matters most to him in his life, his father; “my father had just been struck, before my very eyes, and I had not flickered an eyelid” (37). This is the beginning of fear altering the way he thinks, and changing his outward look on things around him that use to make him.
After Elie had been sent to the Buna camp he began to realize that he is alone, even with his father still there. Elie believes that his God has left him making him alone. When a man cried out in one of the cell blocks he was in saying “”where is God now”” (man 62), Elie found himself asking the same question in his head “”Where is he?…” (62). This is the beginning of a slow but sure deterioration of the faith that had kept him so innocent and in control before. The one thing, in the beginning of his stay in the concentration camp, that he had found comfort and joy in has now betrayed him.
He is now going without praying everyday because he feels there is no use to do so anymore, and not only does he begin to lose his faith but he begins to lose his relationship with his faither. When he attempted to teach his father the marching steps, so he stops getting whipped, he tried in vain. “”So you still can’t march in step, you lazy old devil”” (53) Elie has also began to get to a point where he can not stand his father. He has even proceeded to contemplate the thought of going on without his father and that maybe he is better off without him.
At this point in his recollection Elie has now completely lost his faith in God but has actually gained a new trust. “ `I’ve got more faith in Hitler than anyone. He’s the only one who’s kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people`” (77). This statement signifies how he had no more faith left in him to believe in his god or any of his promises but can now only remember what Hitler has promised for his people. Elie has lost all that makes him human he has lost all the optimism that he had; his friends, and his dad now no longer a priority to him in his life. He “..quickly forgot..” (82), his friend Zalman who had been trampled to death, and had began to think only of himself. He belongs to no one and has no obligations to anyone but himself. His father was taken away in a short time and he did not do anything.
Elie describes his inner struggle that, “I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep” (106). Yet instead of despairing he had the thought that he was actually “…free at last:” (106) free from the mental burdens of his grave situation. Elie had taken upon himself the same rule that all the other men had, in that “..every man has to fight for himself and not think of anyone else” (man 105) as he is now by himself. After the camp liberated and Elie looks upon all that has happened, he realizes that inside him there is no longer an innocent boy but instead a man filled with regret. “Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.” (Weisel 32)
With the end of someone’s life coming near, a fear and despair will often develop a shroud around the things that matter most to someone is their life. This leaves important decisions up to the will of a fearful person, which will always give a regretful result. Elie began full of faith and optimism for the future until he became scared for his life in the concentration camp. He lost his family and all sense of his faith in the concentration camps in reaction to the fear of dying, leaving him with no more optimism. After he is liberated he finally realized that he did the worst thing he could by losing his faith and losing his faith.