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What are the Father-Son Relationships in Night?

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The father-son relationships run like a thread throughout the book. First of all, this is the story of the author himself and the evolution of his relationship with his father, with whom he overcame many trials. But to show the breadth of the problem, the author reveals other tragic stories of fathers and sons.

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From the first pages of the book, the reader becomes a witness to Eli’s and his father’s interactions. Before the family entered the concentration camp, their rapport was different. Eli’s father rarely showed emotion and was often apathetic with his son. Moreover, the boy had more feelings for Moishe the Beetle. The teacher became a role model for Eliezer. A wise Jew showed him the ways of the Jewish religion.

Nevertheless, with the coming of the war and getting into a concentration camp, Eli becomes closer to his father, relies on him for support and care. He says: “The main thing was to stay together, in any case, I will not leave my father.” In turn, Eli’s father asserts, “I have no right to die. What will he do without me? I am his only support.”

The lines describing the farewell of the son to his father are excruciating: “I sat for more than an hour, bending over him, looking at his bloody face and broken head, to forever capture them in my memory.” Thus, the author immerses the reader in a personal story filled with tragedy and at the same time with pride. Eli’s interrelation with his dad is a model of father-son relationships.

Furthermore, Night describes other examples of father-son relationships. The stories are needed to show how much the psychology of a person on the verge of death is changing. Only the instinct of self-preservation remains, and the bonds between children and parents are interrupted. Thus, one of the stories tells about the betrayal of a son to his father. Rabbi believed he had lost his boy in the crowd when they fled from Auschwitz. In fact, the offspring abandoned him, got rid of his father as from the burden.

The story of the young boy at Buna and his pater is no less cruel. Thanks to his physical strength, the guy got into the service under the Oberkapo and was distinguished by incredibly ruthless behavior. Endowed with some power, he could beat the pater and often blackmail him with a piece of bread. An example of father-son relationships is also shown in the episode on the train when Eli went to Buchenwald. When the Germans scattered bread, an elderly Jewish man barely had time to grab a piece, for which his son attacked him and beat the graybeard to death.

Thus, the trials of the concentration camp broke the temperaments of most people. Nazi bullying suppressed the family’s values. But not in the case of Elie Wiesel. The author recalls that he prayed that God would not allow such in their relationship with his father. The writer felt a pang because he did not always stand up for his father, which he very truthfully described in Night. As the most precious thing in life, the memory of the family prompted the author to write this story.

The meaning of these stories is to take care of each other while they are alive. Sometimes it is the young ones who can provide support, not fathers. Parents and children should love each other, stick together, especially in the tragic moments of life. After all, no one can better understand pain than a loved one.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What are the Father-Son Relationships in Night'. 2 November.

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