Derek Leaman
Mr. Hershey
English 2
The book Night by Elie Wiesel is about Elie and his father surviving the horrid conditions of the concentration camps. They move from camp to camp working in conditions that would make the strong feel weak. During the time that they are working in the camps they face many difficulties. One is which Elie starts to feel what it is like to be a father at a very early age. As their time passes in the concentration camps Elie matures into the fatherly role.
At the beginning of the book Elie is dependent on his father. Elie is always trying to stay by his father wherever they are. In the first concentration camp, which resembles normal relationship he came to selection. Elli explains, “The baton pointed to the left. I took a half step forward. I first wanted to see where they would send my father. “Were he to have gone to the right I would have run after him” (32). Elie is very intent on making sure he will not lose his father while walking around any of the camps. In the first camp he walks holding his father's hand just not to lose him. When walking through the camp “my hand tightened its grip on my father. All I could think of was not to lose him. Not to remain alone” (30). In the beginning of the book Elie shows child like dependency on his father. “he clings to his father, contriving to stay close to him in the camps; this closeness is his sole source of reassurance and safety, although he knows it is precarious” (winters 276). Even for his work he wanted to be near his father. He sacrificed being in a good Kommando to be near his father. He told the person “please, sir...I'd like to be near my father” (50).
In the next camps Elie and his father show a peer like relationship. Elie would not give up his gold crown to Franek. Franek, knowing Elie's weak spot, his father, starts to beat Elie's dad. “ Eliezer find himself in the role of the reacher, desperately but unsuccessfully trying to show his father how to march in step so the guards will stop beating and taunting him for his clumsiness (Sanderson 279). Franek beat Elie's father because he could not march instep so, “I decided to give my father lessons in marching instep, in keeping time” (55). Elie and his father further demonstrate a co dependency halfway through their time in the camp. During Roshoshana Elie does not want to be happy and his father understands Elie reflects “I felt a tear on my hand. Whose was it? Mine? His? I said nothing. Nor did he. Never before had we understood each other so clearly” (68-69). “ at this moment of complete awareness, Eliezer stands next to his father as a fellow man and equal” (Sanderson 279)After running all night they receive the order to halt. Every one is so tired. Elie and his father Find a broken down brick factory and they want to sleep. Elie and his father are afraid if they go to sleep they will die. “ We'll take turns. I'll watch over you and you'll watch over me. We won't let each other fall asleep. We'll look after each other” (89). Both Elie and his father now understand each other as equal.
Elie shows a fatherly role in the last camp as his father becomes weaker. After arriving at the new camp, Elie loses his father. The next day Elie find his father weak and trying to get some coffee to help himself feel better. Because Elie is showing a fatherly role he takes it upon himself to get his father some hot coffee. “I fought my way to the coffee cauldron like a wild beast” (106). “He spends his own energy and food to try and nurse his father and keep him alive. (Winters 276). Elie desperately wanted to be near his father at all time just because he needed to take care of him. He would do anything to be near his father. Elie traded to be near his father anything for his father to survive “For a ration of bread I was able to exchange cots to be next to my father” (108). “ thease efforts demand that Eliezer become an adult to help both himself and his father survive...” (Sanderson 278). One day Elie goes back to his bunk “I found my father crying like a child. My son they are beating me!” (109) Elie shows a fatherly role while in the last camp because his father is near the dying point. Elie becomes the father of his father near the end of the book his does that to keep his father alive.
Through out the camps Elie changes from having a child like dependency to being an adult caretaker. From a child Elie becomes a peer to his father treating him as and equal. Then he becomes his father taking care of his son like in the beginning of the book. “These events truly show how deeply dehumanizing life in the camps is: how it removes all feelings of pity, empathy, kindness, faith, loyalty, and love, in favor of brute survival” (Winters 276). Elie Survived the horrible and tragic brutality of the SS, but at what price? At the price of his fathers death.