Father/Son Relationship In Night By Elie Wiesel Book Review Examples

Published: 2021-06-22 00:01:37
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Category: Parents, Family, Literature, Books, Relationships, Food, Holocaust

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Father/Son Relationship in Night by Elie Wiesel
The life of a father and son passing through the concentration camp of World War II has been depicted in the book ‘Night’ by Elie ‘Eliezer’ Wiesel. From the moment they are taken to the WWII camps, cruel and brutal conditions are experienced by them. As a result of these conditions, the relationship between Elie and his father changes. Elie and his father start playing the opposite of their presumed roles during the time they spend the concentration camps.
Elie expresses disgust over the horrible selfishness is surrounding him, especially when it revolves around the severing of familial bonds. The awful mistreatment of fathers by their sons is mentioned by him on three occasions: briefly when his discusses the pipel who abused his father; in his brief discussion of the pipel who abused his father; his terrible conclusion about the terrible motives of the son of Rabbi Eliahou; and when he narrates the fight food fight witnessed by him on the train to Buchenwald, in which a father is beaten to death by his son. Elie seems to imply that the conditions the prisoners had to forcefully suffer elicited all of these instances of cruelty. These sons sacrifice their fathers in order to save themselves.
Out all father and son bonds that Elie mentions in Night, the relationship held between Eliezer and his father during their hardships and pains in the WWII concentration camps at Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Buna is one of them. However, their feelings toward one another are pertaining to a singular example amidst the other relationships that Elie describes in his book. It is astonishing to understand how such strong feelings of love and trust are by Eliezer towards his father during the Holocaust while others abused, left, or killed their own fathers.
When Elie and his father enter the World War II concentration camps, they demonstrate a normal father son relationship. In a normal father and son relationship, it is the father who gives advice to and protects his son, and it is the son who depends and relies on the father. Initially, throughout time they spent in the camps, Eliezer and his father this father-son relationship to the utmost. The fact that despite his age, Eliezer is still dependent on his father is revealed when they enter the camp. During the first section, this dependency is displayed by him when he points “The baton to the left. [He takes] half a step forward. [He] first wanted to see where they would send [his] father. [Had his father] gone to the right, [he] would have run after him” (Wiesel, 2006:32).
Eliezer seems to be consistently determined to stay with his father at all times. This determination was shown by him at all times. Eliezer recalls a moment during their time at the camps when “[his] hand tightened its grip on [his] father. All [he] could think of was not to lose him. Not to remain alone” (Wiesel, 2006:30). During their time in the camps, Eliezer also shows that he needs his father to defend and safeguard him. Eliezer demands this protection without deliberate intent, he remembers that “he kept walking, [his] father holding [his] hand” (Wiesel, 2006:29). Elie continuously shows that he needs his father to be present with him. His actions and thoughts reflect that he relies on his father. Once he even begs that “he to stay with [his] father” (Wiesel, 2006:48).
The relationship between Eliezer and his father evolves into a peer like relationship as their time in the camp advances. In a peer like relationship, the two members are co-dependent on one another and assist each other. In the camps, both of them walk together holding hands, fearful that some travesty might separate them. They request for the same food, share the food, sleep in the same building, and sing Hasidic songs together” (Sanders, 2002:277). In an example, Eliezer is asked to hand over his gold crown to Franek, and Franek beats his father to extort him. To relieve the beating that his father took at the hands of Franek, Eliezer “decided to give [his] their lessons in marching in step, in keeping time” (Wiesel, 2006:55).
This time in which Eliezer finds himself desperately trying to teach his father how to march in step so that the guards no longer beat and taunt him for his clumsiness, but he does not seem to be succeeding (Sanders, 2002:278). Although this is halfway into the story, and they have spent quite some time on the camp, but they still seem to be codependent on one another. During Rashashana, Eliezer’s father understands that he does not want to feel happiness. Elie recalls that “[he had] felt a tear on my hand. Whose was it? [His]? [His father’s]? [He] said nothing. Nor did [his father]. Never before had [they] understood each other so clearly” (Wiesel, 2006:68-69).
At this point, Eliezer and his seem to be completely aware of their relationship and he “stands next to his father as a fellow man and equal” (Sanders, 2002:278). This peer like relationship that Eliezer and his father now share continues to the very end of this book. During the 42-mile run that they make to Gleiwitz, this relationship is eminently displayed. They take a break to rest by stopping at a destroyed brick factory and both seem to be quite exhausted. While they are lying in the snow, Eliezer says that “[They will] take turns. [He agrees to] watch over [his father] and [that his father will] watch over [him]. [They] won’t let each other fall asleep. [They] look after each other” (Wiesel, 2006:89). As their time spent at the camp passes on and advances, Eliezer and his father become even more codependent on one another.
The next morning when Eliezer wakes up, he goes searching for his father in frenzy, like a father would search for his lost son. Eventually, Eliezer manages to locate his father, and he notices that his father seems to look like a lost child, just sitting there, waiting for someone to find him. Eliezer tells his father that he had been looking for him for so long, asks him where he was. Asks him if he slept, ask him how he is feeling (Wiesel, 2006:106). The concern that Eliezer shows towards his father is proof that he has now become responsible for his father in a father-figure role, and his father continues to stay dependent on his son now, yet although reversed, that father-son relationship continues.
Eliezer keeps on caring for and taking care of his father because he believes that his father needs him.“For a ration of bread [he] was able to exchange cots to be next to [his] father” (Wiesel, 2006:108). Although Eliezer realizes that his father is not in the role of the protector anymore, he continues caring for his father and does what is best for him. Again Eliezer displays something that is more of a parental quality. At this point, Eliezer has completely taken on the parental role, while his father does the opposite and becomes entirely dependent on him, absolutely like a child. This reversal of roles depicts the importance of the father-son relationship in Night. The immense suffering that Eliezer and his father go through during their time in the concentration camps tests their bond as a family, however, their relationship remains strong even though it evolves.
Wiesel, E., & Wiesel, M, trans. (2006). Night. (Revised ed.). New York: Hill and Wang.
Sanderson, Susan. (2002) "Critical Essay on Night." Nonfiction Classics For Students. David Galens ed. Vol. 4. New York: The Gale Group.. 277-280. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Gale. Conestoga Valley High School Lib., Lancaster, PA. Retrieved from http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/?db=GVRL

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