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The book ‘Night’ by Eliezer Wiesel depicts the harsh life a teenager and his father from the Jew community goes through during the World War II. It illustrates all the sufferings and tribulations the teenager, Eliezer (writer) passed through while with their father at their homeland and after being taken by the German soldiers to work in the camps. The once happy living family of four children is separated by the World war and the writer chooses to remain with his father throughout the cruelties. The story begins when the father plays an important role in the family, the figure head and the source of advice and strength not only to the family but also to the whole Jewish community. He earns this reputation since he is known to the Jewish Council. The relationship between the father and the son as illustrated by this book is one that should be emulated in real life. Despite the harsh conditions the two undergone, they always chose to stick by each other no matter how dearly it to pay in order to do this. This strong relationship begins at the time when the German soldiers arrive in the writer’s homeland and begin depressing the natives. His father is brought out as a cultured man and who cares about the welfare of others (Wiesel, 23). He cares for the people by relying important information from the authority to the civilians.
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From the moment they are taken to the camps by the Hungarian police, cruel and brutal conditions are experienced by them. However, despite these conditions, the relationship between Eliezer and his father remains unshaken. The father remains the sole role model to his son and this makes the writer destined to be together with his father and does all it takes to achieve that. He expresses disgust and sometimes fumes with anger when he evidences the mistreatment his father goes at the hands of the predators. He talks of selfish sons who sacrifice their fathers in order to save themselves, for instance when he narrates of the fight food fight witnessed by him on the train to Buchenwald, in which a father is beaten to death by his son. "Meir, my little Meir! Don't you recognize me ... You're killing your father ... I have bread ... for you too . .. for you too ..." (Wiesel, 101) .In his book, Eliezer finds it astonishing to understand how feelings of love and unity with his father are permanent while others abuse, leave, or even kill their own fathers during this harsh period.
All through their sufferings, Eliezer and his father demonstrate a normal father to son relationship. His father protects him and gives him advice. His father is a brought as a loving one. He even one time questioned why his son had to follow him to death instead of going with his mother where he would have survived (Weisel, 33). He illustrates the unconditional father-son love in normal setting. This love is also clearly evident towards the end of the book, where the father reveals where he had hidden the gold and silver to his son” Eliezer…I must tell you where I buried the gold and silver...” (Wiesel, 108). This also shows that he is responsible and wants to make his son happy incase he dies in the war. The protective nature of the father to son is illustrated when he saves his son from being strangled by a stranger; he fights on despite his sickly condition and saves him (Wiesel, 102). The son is faithful and obedient to his father. Before accepting to remove his golden teeth, Eliezer goes for his father’s advice on the issue and this implies that he has a strong trust and faith in the words of his father than anybody else. He does not make decisions solely without relying on his father approval (Weisel, 67). He is consistently determined to stay with his father at all times.
Eliezer is totally dependent on his father during his entire life at the camp and he follows his father to every step he makes. This is shown when he volunteers to teach his father how to march just to keep him by his side. He recalls a moment during the life in the camp when they had to separate with his father, when “[his] hand tightened its grip on [his] father. All [he] could think of was not to lose him. Not to remain alone” (Wiesel, 74). His actions and thoughts clearly reflect that he relies on his father.
This makes Eliezer and his father so useful to each other, making the father to son relationship peer like despite the large margin in their ages. They help each other and co-dependent on one another. They pray, ate, share and sleep together during their stay at the camps. This develops into a strong unconditional love towards each other. This peer like relationship goes all through upto the end of the book. During the 42-mile run to Gleiwitz, Eliezer helps his father along the way. He gives him support all way through (Weisel, 96). Although at sometimes they were forced to separate, Eliezer always went back to look for his father amongst the crowd.
They start playing the opposite of their presumed roles during the 42-miles run. The relationship changes towards the end of the book and became the opposite of the initial. Eliezer becomes the figure-head. He helps his father during the run and advises him on why they have to run. His father becomes extremely vulnerable, frightened, weak and more of a child (Wiesel, 106).The father therefore becomes more dependent on the son unlike during the initial phases. Eliezer resumes the role of a father by searching for his helpless father among the crowd (Weisel, 106). These actions clearly illustrate that Eliezer has become mature enough to be the figure-head and has a responsibility of taking care of his father. He resumes the role of a normal parental role to his son until his father passes away.
Despite the challenges in relationship between Eliezer and his father, the father-child was not completely overdone. Eliezer still had the same respect, trust and love towards his father. He still seen him as his major and completely respected him upto his death. His father also played one last fatherly role by giving him his inheritance in form of gold and silver that he had hidden away from the Germans. Therefore, I conclude that this relationship is one of the rare ones you can ever find in the modern society. It is a clear example of a good father to son relationship which should be emulated by the youths in the current society.
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