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This hanging was different because a child was being hung. The young boy was light so he didnt die imediately. The prisoners were forced to stand there and wathch the boys slow death process. The boys hanging signified the death of innocence to Elie. The boy had been tortured then killed but had kept silent through the whole thing. He had done nothing wrong but was being punished.
During this section of Elie's story he relates the affect that a hanging has on them. They arrive back from a work detail and they are called into formation to witness a hanging of three prisoners. This particular hanging is worse than the others because there is a boy being hanged. There is a graphic description of how the bodies dropped and the ropes tightened. The men died almost immediately, but the boy was too light and he kicked and wiggled and didn't die right away. It took a long time and they all had to stand and watch the entire dying process.
In chapter 4 of Night, Elie remembers the night of this hanging, as one that had the most profound affect on him. The horrors of living in a concentration camp weigh heavily on Elie for many years to come, and this one particular event haunts him tremendously.
Elie and the other prisoners have such a hard time with this hanging, because a young boy was hung that night. There were three people that were hung and one was a young boy, who was accused of being involved in resistance activities. The young boy didn't weigh hardly anything. When two of the other men are hung, they die almost instantly. When the young boy is hung, he struggles at the end of the rope. His weight doesn't allow him to have to gift of a quick death, instead, he has to struggle for his life only to lose it in the end. Elie and the other prisoners can only stand and watch in horror. They can't do anything to help the poor boy, so they they can only stand and be witnesses to the inhumane treatment of these men and young boy.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking: "Where is God now?" And I heard a voice within me answer him: "Where is He? Here He is. He is hanging here on this gallows"
This quote is probably one of my favorite quotes of the whole book. Elie struggles throughout the entire book with his relationship with God, but in this moment he can clearly see that God is right there with them. He may not realize it, but he is right, God is right there with them all.
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