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In chapter 4, what does the hanging of the child who looks like a sad angel symbolize...

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wittmoe | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 29, 2009 at 6:07 AM via web

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In chapter 4, what does the hanging of the child who looks like a sad angel symbolize for Eliezer?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 29, 2009 at 6:33 AM (Answer #1)

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The hanging of the child represents the ultimate statement regarding the absence of God.  Even for those who are in the camp, have seen death with an almost regular occurrence, and have seen nearly every unspeakable atrocity, the hanging of the child represented a new low.  Wiesel says that the boy was well liked in the camp and to see him executed visibly shook the Jewish people in the camp.  The torture and hanging of the boy, who remained silent throughout, symbolized the death of innocence, the true statement of God's absence.  There was the constant cries of asking where God while observing the boy's death.  The symbolism of the young boy, essentially representing childhood, being summarily executed pleads the question as how a merciful or benevolent God would allow this to happen.  The haunting reality is that either God is absent, or God is "on the gallows."

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