The Relationship between Eliezer and his Father
Change is inevitable and the relationship between Eliezer and his father in Night transforms drastically. The young boy and his father go through much suffering in concentration camp. The experience at the concentration camp changes the relationship between son and father and the despicable treatment by the Nazis help Eliezer and his father develop a strong bond.
As the story begins the relation between Eliezer and his father is very weak. It does not reflect a normal relationship between a father and a son. Eliezer even thinks that his father cares for others more than his family “He was more concerned with others than with his own family” (Wiesel 2).
Moreover, his father does not support him in his religious quest. Thus Eliezer finds Moshe, a teacher to teach him the Cabbala something that does not go well with his father who condemns him for his preoccupation with the Cabbala. Their relationship is strained but soon it changes as their circumstances change.
Once the two are taken to a concentration camp along with many others their relationship, begin to become close. The reason for the change is the loss of the rest of their family members, and they are only left with each other. The horrendous days and the atrocious treatment they receive at camp Auschwitz bring them closer as they learn to depend on one another for their mere survival.
They develop a strong connection, and support one another as they go through hard times in the camp. For instance, while at the camp after his father is deemed too weak to work and taken to the side of those to go the crematorium Eliezer runs to him and in the confusion that ensue both slip back to the safe side. Furthermore, his father learns to value his son and show him affection as he tells his son not to worry and go to sleep, “Don’t be afraid, son. Sleep—…I’ll look after you myself” (Weisel 85).
Eliezer has learned to depend on his father and will do anything to keep him by his side. He even prays to God despite of his loss of faith in a God who seems quiet in the midst of their suffering the prisoners are going through in the camp, for the strength never to leave his father as he had sons do to their fathers.
He asks God to enable him stay with his father as he had seen Rabbi abandon his father, “My God, Lord of the Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahou’s son has done” (Wiesel 87). Father and son strive to survive for the sake of one another as none can imagine how life would be for the other if they died.
Eliezer protects his father and does not sacrifice him for his own survival as so many sons had done to their sons for their own survival. However, as days pass by he starts to feel some resentment toward his father especially when he is unable to protect himself from the cruelty of the guards instead of pitying him.
Moreover, towards the end of the book on their way to Buchenwald, his father becomes very weak and cannot move maybe because of fatigue or lose of hope. He leaves his father and sleeps deeply and when he wakes up, he cannot find him and searches for him half-heartedly because a thought tells him maybe he can increase his chance of survival if he were alone.
Fortunately, he finds him, “Father! I’ve been looking for you for so long…Where were you? Did you sleep?…How do you feel?” (Wiesel 101). He still cares about his father and guilt eats him for his behavior especially when he considers eating the food instead of sharing it with his father. Eliezer is slowly becoming estranged from his father due to the harsh situation but he stands by his father who suffers from dysentery.
Finally, his father passes on, and he feels a sign of relief and does not cry. However, the experience at the camp and their deep concern for one another that develops overtime helps them to survive and not fall into the temptation of self-preservation that makes a son turn against his father and kill him. Their relationship grows strong albeit Eliezer’s thoughts that he would be better off without his father as the two experience a deep bond that changes both of their lives as they struggle to survive.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. MacGibbon& Kee: New York, 1982.