Essay title: Night: Heavenly Hurt
“Night” by Elie Wiesel is a terrifying account of the Holocaust during World War II. Throughout this book we see a young Jewish boy’s life turned upside down from his peaceful ways. The author explores how dangerous times break all social ties, leaving everyone to fight for themselves. He also shows how one’s survival may be linked to faith and family.
The novel starts out in a small highly Jewish populated Hungarian town named Sighet. The people’s lives and community somewhat revolve around each other and religion (Judaism). More importantly we see immense care and concern among the citizens; they all help one another and are true to their similar beliefs and values. Eliezer’s life starts out revolving around God, as he goes on his journey studying the cabbala and other forms of Jewish religious texts. Initially Eliezer’s belief is a product of Jewish mysticism that God is everywhere and that nothing exists without God, and in the start his faith in God is absolute. During the Holocaust, things change irreparably. The peaceful calm Jewish community that Eliezer once grew up with was shattered into a realm of chaos and selfishness.
Eliezer believes that if all the prisoners were to unite to oppose the cruel that the Nazis inflicted upon them, then maybe he could understand the Nazi menace as an evil abnormality, but instead he sees that the Holocaust exposes the selfishness, evil, and cruelty of everybody; not only the Nazis, but also his fellow Jews, and even himself. I believe Elie Weisel is trying to say during chaotic times, society and communities turn corrupt and individuals only concentrate on their own survival. In other words, communities and societies alike shatter. Sons even turn against their fathers, in one case Rabbi Eliahou’s son“had felt that his father was growing weak, he had believed that the end was near and had sought this separation in order to get rid of the burden, to free him from an encumbrance which could lessen his own chances of survival.”Eliezer had guilty thoughts of him relieving himself the burden his father put on him, this showed him that the corruption of society had affected him. Not only did Eliezer’s faith in mankind change, his faith in god took a toll for the worse; “I was the accuser, God the accused… I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God”.
The presence of God was questioned many times throughout the novel. Keep in mind Eliezer does not abandon his faith completely; he manages to retain some of this faith throughout his experiences. This shows Elie Wiesel tries to inform the reader that one may survive because of faith. When Eliezer asks Moshe the Beadle why he prays, he replies, “I pray to the God within me that He will give me strength to ask Him the right questions.” In other words, questioning.