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Published: 11-12-2019

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The Dynamics in Elis and His Father Relations Through the Novel

In the novel ‘Night’, it is clear to see there is a changing partnership amongst Elie and his father. On 1st impression, ‘he known as out to me and I had not answered’, seems to indicate that the connection has ceased. Nevertheless, the change in the nature of their partnership is far far more complicated than it appears. This complexity is shown from the days just before the arrival of the Nazis, to the initial experiences in the camp, to the final moments they share together. All through this novel we see there is an ever-changing and building relationship between Elie and his father.

At the commence of the text, Elie’s father is extremely distant from his loved ones and appears to be ‘more involved with the welfare of other people that with that of his own kin.’ At this stage of the story Elie and his father’s partnership is really distant and disconnected. This is additional underlined by his father’s lack of interest in Elie’s faith – ‘he wanted to drive the thought of studying kabbalah from my mind’ – causing Elie to seek fatherly guidance and help from Moishe the Beadle. Their connection begins to change when the Nazi’s initial arrive in town, as Elie’s father begins to show emotion towards Elie, their relationship begins to draw closer: ‘My father was crying. It was the 1st time I saw him cry. I had by no means believed it feasible.’ Elie is really shocked to see his father weeping as he had in no way noticed his father express his feelings ahead of. This moment proves to Elie that his father is human. Their connection additional develops when Elie and his father are separated from his mother and sister: ‘I already felt my father’s hand press against mine: we had been alone’. Elie’s father starts to show a lot more emotion and starts to take on a fatherly part as he appears out for Elie to guarantee his survival, and starts to show concern for Elie’s security and wellbeing: ‘What a shame you didn’t go with your mother, I saw numerous young children your age go with their mothers.’

Throughout their initial encounters in the camp, Elie’s father is slowly becoming much more father-like and displaying the wisdom and guidance that was once employed towards the community towards Elie. Via the tougher times they start to rely on one one more, and realise they have to stick collectively to make certain their survival. Elie begins to take dangers on his personal life to ensure his father’s survival, rather than be concerned about his own wellbeing: ‘Being in the infirmary was not negative at all we have been entitled to very good bread, a thicker soup… From time to time I was able to send my father a piece of bread’. This shows that even though Elie is much better off, he is nevertheless looking out for his father and placing himself at threat at the opportunity that if he got caught feeding his father, he could be killed, and however he does this to make certain his father survives. Elie begins to take on much more of the fatherly part as his father gets weaker and depends on Elie even much more. Their bond is increasing as the experiences they’re going via get harsher.

As Elie’s father gets weaker, Elie becomes frustrated and feels that his father is weighing him down, that he is a dead weight: ‘My father’s presence was the only issue that stopped me. He was subsequent to me out of breath, out of strength, desperate.’ Though Elie is angry with his father for holding him back, he does not desert him, and continues to stick by him as he does not want to be separated from him: ‘I was considering not about death, I did not want to be separated from my father.’ As they are operating away from the Russians by way of the snow, Elie sees sons abandoning their fathers, and realises how simple it would be to just leave him behind and free of charge himself from the burden of his father, but he still does not leave him. He nevertheless has wonderful concern for his father’s survival. Elie starts to realise that it’s each man for himself, and he cannot worry about his father any longer: ‘That is when I remembered I had a father. I had followed the mob, not taking care of him. I knew he was operating out of strength, close to death and but I abandoned him’. He becomes so frustrated with having to appear after his father, and be the father figure towards him, that he can’t manage his anger, and starts to wish his father was dead: ‘A thought crept into my mind, if only I didn’t discover him, if only I was relieved of this responsibility. I could use all my strength to take care of only myself.’ Instantaneously Elie starts to really feel guilty for having such thoughts: ‘instantly I felt ashamed, ashamed of myself forever,’ he says, and realises he can’t leave his father in such a state, and it is his responsibility to appear after him. ‘For a ration of bread I was in a position to exchange a cot to be next to my father’, he says. At this stage their partnership is slowly drifting apart, the love for a single one more is nonetheless there, but hate and frustration quickly overcomes this. Elie cannot stand it anymore, no matter how much Elie does for his father, he nevertheless wants to die he has offered up and no longer desires to live. ‘I cannot any longer, it is more than,’ he says, ‘I shall die right here.’ For the duration of their final moments together, when presented with the opportunity to save his father from beatings from the Kapos, Elie sits back and does absolutely nothing. He is too afraid to take action, as he could be the next one to be beaten: ‘I was afraid, my physique was afraid of yet another blow, this time to my head’. When Elie’s father dies, Elie feels guilty as ‘his last word had been my name. He known as out to me and I had not answered’. But soon the feeling of guilt passes and he feels relief, ‘free at last!’

It is shown throughout the text that there is an ever altering nature of the connection amongst Elie and his father from the days ahead of the arrival of the Nazis, to the initial experiences in the camp, to the final moments they share with each other. We can see the diverse stages of their relationship and how it develops, as well as how the situation they’re in reflects their partnership and how close they become. It is a complex predicament that undoubtedly resonated with Elie all through the rest of his life.
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