Friday In Class Writing Assignment
Elie Wiesel, winner of the nobel peace prize, went through many changes in his belief in god and religion during his time in the Nazi concentration camps. Many of those evolutions are documented in his book, Night. The character in the book based off Elie, Eliezer, goes through many drastic changes. He evolves from having strong faith in god, to losing his faith in god’s ability, to losing his trust in god helping the people, to losing faith that god exists, and finally comes back to his original belief that god exists. At the beginning of his account, he talks about how he constantly studied the Jewish holy texts and was involved in Jewish affairs. He writes: “By day I studied Talmud and by night I would run to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the Temple”(Wiesel 3). The temple he refers to was was a temple that was destroyed by the anti-semitic forces during invasions. Even though he was still a student, he was still able to feel the loss and grieve over it. However, his belief in god starts to evolve after he is sent to the concentration camp. During his first night at the camp, he witnesses a horrific event, toddlers being thrown into fires. From his account: “Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.”(Wiesel 34). The images of this horror were burned in his head and he thought about night every time he witnesses another act of horror. Eventually, he comes up with a statement to describe his feelings about god He says: ¨I was not denying His existence, but I doubted His absolute justice"(Wiesel 45). At this point, he still believed that god was alive; however, he believed that god was oblivious to them being tortured and as he sees that god is doing nothing to better the situation, he concludes that god’s sense of judgement is concluded, and he loses faith in his ability to help him and all the other Jews. His last straw breaks a few days after that, when he witnesses three prisoners being killed, one being a toddler. In the quote, "My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God, without man"(Wiesel 68), he implies that if god were alive, he would have stopped this. God has had more than enough time to do something about and still hasn't, leading to Wiesel’s conclusion that god was dead, and since it was every man for himself in the camp, he was all alone. He changes his belief in god once more towards the end of his time in the camp when a man named Rabbi Eliahu approaches him, asking if Eliezer has seen his son. He remembers seeing Rabbi’s son purposefully leaving Rabbi behind as he was too much of a burden. He wishes that he never does something like that himself in the quote: “Oh God, Master of the Universe, give me the strength never to do what Rabbi Eliahu's son has done"(Wiesel 91). Even though he admits that he does not believe in god, he still talks to him and calls him “Master of the Universe.” His actions reveal that even though he does not fully have faith in god, a small part of him still has faith. Although his account only features changes through these evolutions, he later goes on to change his beliefs one more time. In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, he states that when he first got out of the camp, the first words he uttered were: “Words of gratitude. First to our common Creator." (Wiesel 117). Even though he had been through so much where god did not help him, he believed that his release was due to god. Throughout his life Elie changes his beliefs on god and religion. Based on when he changes his beliefs and the circumstances that caused him to change it, it can be concluded that Elie, while a little reluctant to change, has an inner voice that persuades him to believe in god and praise him for every good thing that happens while doubting his involvement in anything bad.