The Relationship between Eliezer and his Father
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Life is a complicated process, in which people face different challenges. People go through some of these challenges with their relatives. Severe challenges can significantly affect the relationship of two people. The main characters of the novel Night, written by Elie Wiesel, are Eliezer and his father whose relationship was severely affected by the challenges they faced in the concentration camp. Even though at the beginning of the novel Eliezer and his father were not very close, later Eliezer became close with his father, but at the end of the novel perceived him as a burden.
Eliezer respected his father at the beginning of the story, but was not feeling close to him. Eliezer saw his father as a man who did not show his feelings, even to the members of his family, and who showed more interest in the “welfare of others than with that of his own kind” (Wiesel 4). Thus, Eliezer’s father spent more time with other people, who belonged to the community of Jews, instead of spending time with his son. Besides not devoting enough time to his son, Eliezer’s father also did not support his son’s decision to study Talmud and Cabbala (Bloom 71). Thus, Eliezer and his father perceived life differently and were not alike.
As soon as Eliezer and his father arrive at the concentration camp, the changes in their relationship begin. Eliezer starts to cherish his father and clings to him after he sees how the innocent little children are thrown into the crematorium and burned alive. His father becomes the most important person to Eliezer (Fine 49). He feels close to his father due to the horrible circumstances, which they go through together. Eliezer understands that if his father gets killed or taken away from him, he will lose everything. Therefore, Eliezer tries to support his father and tries to protect him. His father does the same for him. When the New Year came, Eliezer and his father were having the strongest relationship, which they have ever had. They “never understood one another so clearly” (Wiesel 69) before going to the concentration camp. Eliezer knew that they were constantly in grave danger because the officers could kill them anytime. He also understood that they might not go through the selection one day. They protected each other whenever they could and were able to sacrifice their lives to protect one another. However, their relationship did not remain the same till the end.
Towards the end of the story, Eliezer’s father contracts a severe disease. He has dysentery with no cchance to survive. Eliezer starts to think that his father is a burden to him (Horowitz 91). He assumes that it would be easier to survive without his father because he would not have to take care of him and share food with him. When his father asked for water, the guard of the camp got mad at him and started beating him hard. When his father was beaten to death by the guard, Eliezer did not protect him. He was lying on his bank and did nothing to save his father. The boy saw his father’s death, and did not cry at that moment. However, later, Eliezer began to blame himself for not protecting his father and for letting him die. Eliezer thought that his father wanted him to be near, when he was dying, but the boy “did not let him have his wish” (Wiesel 14). It means that even though Eliezer did not protect his father and let him die, he still loved him.
To conclude, relationship of Eliezer and his father significantly changed throughout the novel. At first, Eliezer was not close with his father but respected him. When they got to the concentration camp, they became very close, began to cherish and protect each other. However, when his father lies sick with dysentery, Eliezer starts to view him as a personal burden and does not protect him when he dies from being beaten by the officer.