Night, By Eliezer Wiesel Essay

1387 words - 6 pages

Throughout a person’s life, he or she expects to have a significant person who will always be there to help out with any given task. The first thought in one’s mind reveals an apparent image of a mother or father, caring for their child. Parents remain as constant representations of how one should care for another; they exhibit protective instincts their children become accustom to, and one would not know how to carry on without their guidance. Presented through the topics of assets, losses, and differing questions in his autobiography Night, Eliezer Wiesel displays the idea of how changing circumstances can cause one to contemplate everything they once held to be true and finite.
Every person needs an anchor, someone or something to hold on to in order to keep progressing forward. In Night, a common anchor becomes apparent through the use of family. From the very beginning, Moishe the Beadle tells a story of a man, “Tobie, the tailor who begged to die before his sons were killed” (Wiesel 7). This man, who no one apart from Moishe knows personally, offers his life before his sons’. This shows that he lives for his family, and he would be willing to die for them as well. In Elie’s own personal experience, his parents try to prepare and shield him. He remarks that his father “went down to the cellar and buried our savings” (11), while his mother “went on tending to the many chores in the house” (11), attempting to maintain everything as normal as possible given the circumstance. His parents, anticipating the future, set up a way for their family to continue living well when they return. The burial of the money resembles a symbol of hope that they will return at all. In “Ballad of Birmingham” by Dudley Randall, the speaker also tries to do what she considers best for her daughter. After her daughter asks repeatedly to go march in the Freedom March, the mother answers, “No, baby, no, you may not go” (Randall 5 & 13), following with a reason of potential danger.
Another remarkable example of the idea that one’s family can be his or her anchor shows up when Elie runs into his relative Stein. Elie recalls Stein saying, “‘The only thing that keeps me alive […] is to know that Reizel and the little ones are still alive. Were it not for them, I would give up’” (Wiesel 45). A clear statement of how much Stein’s family means to him, Elie lies to him, saying that they all continue to be safe. The thought of his family out of harm’s way brings peace to Stein’s troubled mind. The instance with Stein’s peace of mind appears identical to the speaker in “Ballad of Birmingham” when “The mother smiled to know that her child Was in the sacred place” (Randall 22-23). Knowing of her child’s whereabouts eases the mother’s mind. The mother expresses concern in previous lines of Randall’s poem, stating premonitions such as “the dogs are fierce and wild, And clubs and hoses, guns and jails” (6-7) and “I fear those guns will fire” (14)....

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