Night by Elie Wiesel
Discuss the evolution of Wiesel’s religious views as he goes through the experiences he describes. What is the turning point?
In his childhood, Wiesel was devoted to religion; he saw God as a good with good plans for them and could no question his actions. This made him believe that nothing bad occur against him, as he will protect them against the rumors of Nazi invasion. He was also firm in his faith thought humanity was all about peaceful not a cruel society. Because of suffering and man’s cruelty after being taken in concentration camp, he began to change his view of humanity and saw them as oppressors. Thus with continued suffering and torture while seeing fire consume bodies at a crematorium he lost faith in his religion and God. “Inside me, I heard a voice reply, where he is? This is where suspending here from these gibbets.” (Wiesel, 65).This shows how hopeless Elie was in concentration camps.
The turning point was when Elie’s father died because when his father died Eliezer felt free. However, his death was devastating to Eli who was left to doubt God’s existence, as he could not prevent the man’s cruelty against fellow man.
Discuss similarities and differences with your reading of Martin Buber
A key similarity between Buber and Wiesel’s reading is that they both present a different account on being in the world and a person’s relationship with the divine. Buber shows this in Hasidic teachings in The Way of Man which explain the reality of human being in relation to God whereas Wiesel’s Night does focus on the role of divine intervention in Eliezer’s awareness. Thus, both author’s expression in writing on how characters relates with God in different aspect of life can be seen.
There is a key difference in the subject of religion between Wiesel and Buber, where Buber believes in the ‘I-Thou’ creation as seen in The way of Man. The author believes a person should apt divine within himself and should perceive reality as creation of the spiritual aspect. Thus, to Buber the answer is within oneself through recognition of divine presence. This is in contrast with Wiesel faith where he doubts existence of God and divine presence upon the hanging of a young boy. Thus, we see a separation between individual and their divine at focus in Night.
Do you agree with Wiesel’s conclusions? How would you make sense of life had you gone through the same experiences?
I do agree with Wiesel’s conclusion, God shall remain unchanged and what he chooses to happen no one can explain for he has the reason for all action. In addition, I would also ask God some of the same questions that he did ask.
If had I gone through the same experiences I would take life as cruel and of no importance, while I will see man as an oppressor driven by self-preservation. I will also, doubt God presence in my life for subjecting us into man’s cruelty during the Holocaust ordeal and question his existence as man cruelty was dominance at expense of his mercy’s. However, with survival I will acknowledge that it was his doing and not man’s will and we cannot question his actions.