Night Elie Wiesel Themes

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A major theme of the last three sections of the novel is the loss of identity. Throughout the book, Elie and the other prisoners lose touch with who they really are, as Jews and as human beings. In the beginning of the novel, Elie is a devout Jew, focused on furthering his studies of the Kabbalah. However, as his time at the concentration camp progresses, he continually loses his faith in God. He doesn’t fast on Rosh Hashanah as a sign of defiance, and he frequently blames God for what is happening to the Jews. By the last section of the novel, Elie no longer mentions God and he does not pray for his father when he dies, demonstrating Elie’s complete change in faith, a component of his life that was once very important to him. Furthermore, at the start of his concentration camp experience, Elie is extremely close with his father, and their survival relies on each other. However, when…show more content…
For example, on the way to Buchenwald, a worker throws bread into the middle of the cattle carts. The prisoners had not eaten in days, relying on snow to feed them, causing them to fight over the bread. Elie witnesses an older man on his cart grab a piece of bread and try to escape the mob that if fighting to get bread. When he tries to eat it, however, his own son beats him to grab the bread, killing his father. After this, two other men jump the kid, killing him also. In the course of a few minutes, two people had been killed over a piece of bread. This exchange demonstrates the loss of humanity among the prisoners. A son, who probably had a close relationship with his father like and Elie and his dad did, was willing to kill him over food. All of the prisoners have been forced to become killers, shedding what was left of their former humanity. Like Elie, they have lost their identities as human beings, becoming bodies without a soul, all trained to do whatever it takes to survive, no matter the
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