What Are The Conflicts In The Night?

Updated 30 September, 2023
There are several conflicts represented in Elie Wiesel’s book Night. The most prominent are Elie’s internal conflict related to faith, and a conflict between love and self-interest.
Detailed answer:

Elie, the main character of Night, is continuously torn between a sense of protection and doing what is best for himself. Whenever he leaves his father, however, he begins to doubt that his own life is worth saving if it means giving up protecting his father. Like Elie, several other characters face a conflict between love and self-interest. Elie struggles with deciding what is more important, his life, or his fathers. Wiesel shows that love keeps people alive. Often when one assists in caring for another human the individual’s survival also benefits. In Night, Ellie not only keeps himself alive but also is a major factor in his father’s survival which in turn helps his survival. Throughout the novel, Ellie is constantly putting his father's needs before his own. Wiesel first demonstrates this when they first arrive at Auschwitz and Ellie insists that he’d “like to be near my father”.
Elie’s internal struggle reaches its climax when he must decide whether to give soup to his dying father or to save it for himself. Although he chooses to assist his father in difficult situations, he must constantly suppress the instinct toward self preservation. The few times he allows this instinct to triumph over his sense of generosity, Eliezer wonders if he deserves to be alive. Throughout the memoir, his most selfish decisions have the surprising effect of wearing him down. When he passively watches Idek’s attack on his father, Elie feels so much guilt that he describes himself as a beast instead of a person. If he had rushed to his father’s defence, he may have risked a brutal beating, but he would have bolstered his sense of self-respect and maintained his will to live. Toward the end of the memoir, when he loses sight of his father, he tells himself to keep moving.
Another major conflict is Elie’s internal conflict related to religion and fath in God. Having survived day to day, he watched loved-ones and people with his shared religion, lose themselves, and their spirituality, influencing Weisels own inner-spiritual conflict. Mark Anderson, wrote, “The Child Victim as Witness to the Holocaust: An American Story?”, his article covers the key role of the child victim in the representation of the Holocaust, especially in mainstream American life. He uses Night frequently, talking of the connection between death and spirituality, “On a metaphysical level, the death of Wiesel’s father corresponds to the death of God the father and the narrator’s loss of belief in a divinely ordered universe.” (Anderson 6). The death of his father is the last straw for Wiesel, it leads him to an emotionless darkness that comes with losing faith in God. They coincide, losing his physical father and trauma cause by the holocaust, led to the loss of his spiritual father.

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