In Night, a non-fictional novel, Elie Wiesel, the author, recounts his experience with his father at Nazi German concentration camps in Auschwitz and Buchenwald. A memoir on the Holocaust, the novel addresses the task of describing the indescribable and does it quite well, taking readers on an emotional roll coaster. The novel evokes various feelings including sadness and anger as Wiesel describes explicit details of his experiences during the Holocaust. After reading Night, I felt powerless and depressed as I reflected on my perspective of humanity. I also felt disappointed and frustrated with the details perhaps due to the fact that the details came from a true story.
Elie left his father “I knew he was out of strength, so close to death, and yet I abandoned him (Source E). Elie’s father had been running out of strength and when the had an emergency Elie followed the crowd instead of helping his father. Elie then went on to think “I could use all of my strength to fight for my own survival, to take care of only myself” (Source E). Elie had a hard time taking care of himself, and he had to take care of his father as well. By making the decision to leave his father behind Elie could focus on his own survival rather than having to always help his dad.
Before they are sent to the ghettos, his relationship with his father was they were not always open with each other. Then, when they are sent to the camp, they need each other in order to keep going and survive. He does not want “To break rank, to let [himself] slide to the side of my road… [His] father’s presence was the only thing that stopped [him].” (Wiesel 86). Then, later in the book when his father dies from dysentery he says, “... if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last!...” (112). This quote is an example of his drastic change with his relationship with his father.
At Buchenwald, Elie’s father is dying, and he will not make it much farther, so their Blockäteste gives Eliezer the advice of taking his father’s rations. The author explains this by saying, “You cannot help him anymore… In fact you should be getting his rations.” (pg. 110) By saying this, the block leader was telling Eliezer that saving himself is more important than helping his father. He is only hurting himself by giving away his rations, instead of taking his father’s. Rather than giving away his rations of food, Eliezer learns that he needs to do anything he can to ensure his survival, while he remains at the concentration camps.
Early on in the book, Eli actively avoids becoming one of them, but he struggles with this as Night goes on. He starts to have brutish thoughts as he sees another son abandon his father for the sake of survival, but quickly decides not to. However, Eli’s morality finally breaks with his father’s death. Although on the surface, Eli feels grief and wishes that his father could still be alive, within himself, Eli finds a feeling of relief, as if a burden had been lifted from him. This shows that the longer Eli spent in the concentration camp, the weaker his moral sense became.
He also wanted to tell the reader about his life as a Jew in a concentration camp and the horrors he faced. He wanted us to think about what we would have done in his place and what forgiveness means to us. After he published his book, he asked certain people to respond to the story and what they would have done in his place. Some people are Jews, some are Christians, some are young, some older, some were even part of the war. Everyone who wrote an essay was different from the rest in some way, but they all had one connection, Simon.
Themes in a story help to describe what the book is about. It does this in the book Night by helping describe what World War 2 was like for the Jews. It also helps to see what the people in the camps went through. My two themes from night are imprisonment and survival. The first one I will talk about is imprisonment, then i’ll talk about survival.
Pain and suffering can make one say and do things that they otherwise would not. For instance, when Elie’s father was being beaten in front of him, Elie did not try to help him; he “had not even blinked” due to the fear he felt. Nonetheless, his father understood Elie’s actions and whispered, “It doesn’t hurt,” to make Elie feel less remorseful. Elie felt guilty for not doing anything to help his father, and if it had not been for his father understanding his actions, guilt could have consumed Elie to such a degree that it would have made it more difficult to live. By showing that he understood his son, Elie’s father made Elie’s survival more probable.
Neil Perry had so much pressure from his dad, Mr.Perry, because he wanted him to achieve more than him and his family ever did. Mr. Perry cared about his son, he just expressed it through conformity and discipline. He sets standard for Neil such as, being a doctor. He does not let him follow his dreams to be an actor, because he chose his path already. Neil loved acting and his dad did not approve and acted like his dreams were not important.
As we continue to nurture our understanding of the Holocaust, we begin to recognise why we can never allow an atrocity like this to occur again. The Pianist (2002), directed by Roman Polanski, is based on a WWII memoir by Polish-Jewish, Holocaust survivor, Wladyslaw Szpilman. The film, although dramatised, is based on Szpilman’s experiences hiding out from the Nazi’s as he escaped from being shipped of to a concentration camp. Although quite confronting, it sheds light on the often underappreciated individuals who risked their own lives helping Jewish people survive the war by welcoming them into their homes or giving them a safe place to stay, under the radar. Schindler’s List (1993), directed by Stephen Spielberg, is based on the novel Shindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally.