Night By Elie WieselThere are many themes in the novel Night, by Elie Wiesel; some of these includeloss of faith, father-son relationships, food and hunger, and disbelief. One ofthe most interesting theme is the father-son relationship. This theme can beseen throughout the novel with many fathers and sons. Elie has a very strongrelationship with his father. His main reason for not giving up in the camps isso his father is not alone. Some kinships are not like Elie?s and his father?s.
One son purposely loses his father so that he does not burden him and anotherson beats and kills his own father just for food. Father and son relationshipscan be seen in many parts in Night and takes a very large roll in the novel. Oneof the relationships between fathers and sons that demonstrate the compassionfor one another, not cruelty, is the relationship between Elie and his father. During the march to Gleiwitz, Elie thinks he can no longer go on with thishorrible ordeal but decides he will keep on going for his father. Elie?sinspiration during the endless march is his father. “My father?s presencewas the only thing that stopped me?He was running at my side, out of breath, atthe end of his strength, at his wit?s end.Order now
I had no right to let myself die. What would he do without me? I was his only support” (82). Theirrelationship is so strong that is actually gives Elie a reason to keep on livingthrough this novel. Some relationships are not as pleasant as Elie?s with hisfather.
Elie talks about a son and his father, a Rabbi, who intentionally loseshis father during the march to Gleiwitz. “A terrible thought loomed up inmy mind: he had wanted to get rid of his father! He had felt that his father wasgrowing weak, he had believed that the end was near and had sought thisseparation in order to get rid of the burden, to free himself from anencumbrance which could lessen his own chances of survival” (87). When Elierealizes what has happened between the Rabbi and his son, it is very disturbingto him and he prays for strength that he never does this to his father. In thesecamps, survival was so difficult that it is not unusual for people to becomeself-centered. During the train ride to Buchenwald a very disturbing situationhappens between a father and son.
Workmen were throwing pieces of bread insidethe wagons just to see the prisoners fight over the food. While they are doingthis, an old man comes across a piece of bread and sneaks away from the mob ofpeople, but the man does not go unnoticed. Someone threw himself on top of theold man and begins to hit him for the bread. While this is happening, the oldman screams out “Meir.
Meir, my boy! Don?t you recognize me? I?m yourfather?you?re hurting me?you?re killing your father! I?ve got some bread?foryou too?for you too?” (97). The other person killed his own father justfor some food that his father was going to give him anyway. During theHolocaust, food was so scarce that a son would kill his own father just for somemore food. The relationship between fathers and sons is a very important themein Night. It can be the inspiration for survival but for others, survival forthemselves costs them their relationship. This theme shows how cruel humanbeings can be.
With the son beating and killing his own father, or the sonabandoning his father so that he does not have to deal with him anymore. Thistheme can also show the beauty of the relationship, with Elie?s father beingthe reason Elie keeps on marching on their way to Gleiwitz. The Holocaust canchange the way people are, very dramatically, making them very cruel andselfish.