"Night" Essay

985 words - 4 pages

Elie Wiesel tells the story of his holocaust experience in the book, Night. Throughout the story it is quite obvious that life in the death camps altered not only the prisoners? physical freedom or health, but completely challenged their optimism and faith in God. Elie, as a fifteen year old, lost his mother and sister and then watched his father wither away before his eyes. He witnessed the silent death of thousands and the brutal murders of many others. As these atrocities occur before him, Elie realizes that faith in God is the only thing that will keep him from perishing though it becomes increasingly difficult for Elie to have faith in God as the story progresses. The Holocaust felt like a time devoid of God, though faith in a supreme being was necessary.Throughout Night, Wiesel struggles to remain faithful to the religion that has cost him his freedom. Clearly, his faith is challenged moments after fully comprehending the horrors being committed at Auschwitz. As he gazes at a smoking chimney, a prisoner warns Elie and the others in line that they will all be sent to the crematorium. He then sees cartloads of small children and babies being burned in a ditch. These sights are so awful they are incomprehensible. Elie hears his father saying the Kaddish, the prayer of the dead, and he is torn. ?For the first time, I felt revolt rise up in me. Why should I bless His name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank him for?? (pg. 31) This is the first time that Wiesel acknowledges the absence of God. Realizing that the God he loves and worships has deserted the Jewish people, challenges his faith greatly. The inmates? struggle to remain faithful to a loving and omnipresent God is best depicted in a brutal scene towards the end of the book when a child whom Elie describes as a ?sad-eyed angel? (pg. 61) is sent to the gallows for crimes he committed when acting as a servant to an Oberkapo. The prisoners are forced to watch the execution and they weep at the sight. They watch as the young boy struggles for a half an hour after being hung, ?dying in slow agony? (pg. 62). Elie hears a man repeatedly asking ?Where is God now?? (pg. 62) Silently, Elie responds, ?Where is He? Here he is- He is hanging right here on this gallows?? (pg. 62). To continue to believe and worship God after seeing such a scene would be very difficult. Unfortunately, this is not the worst Elie has seen. He is surrounded by death and brutality. Wiesel and the other inmates live in constant fear and hunger. His faith is constantly challenged.Wiesel turns from despair to anger during Rosh Hashanah, a celebration of the end of an...

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