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In chapter five of Night, Describe Eliezer's feelings as the prisoners observe the...

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wittmoe | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted July 31, 2009 at 6:55 AM via web

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In chapter five of Night, Describe Eliezer's feelings as the prisoners observe the Jewish New Year.

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

Posted July 31, 2009 at 10:07 PM (Answer #1)

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There is a great deal of anger regarding Eliezer's observation of the Jewish New Year and the homage to God.  The accrued experience of enduring and witnessing suffering is taking its toll on the boy, targeting his religious faith.  The most natural questions seem to arise in this chapter:  How could a "chosen" people be "chosen" to endure so much suffering?  Why would God allow Buna to exist?  How can the evil of the Nazis speaker louder than "the love of God"?  The driving force behind the section is the questioning of God and the loss of religious faith.  Eliezer's feelings about the presence of God and the holiness of the New Year is that any merciful God would not allow such suffering.  This is not merely a feeling that Eliezer is experiencing, as others around him are dealing with the same doubting of faith and belief.  The rabbi:  "At least Hitler keeps his promises."  Part of the cruelty of the Nazis did not solely rest in their atrocities committed.  A more dehumanizing and degrading component of the Nazis was their eradication of faith, and the level to which they rendered their victims devoid of hope.  Activismm and resistance is only possible with belief in something strong and positive that will happen.  In targeting a group with such a religious background, the Nazis sought to remove this element of spiritual life in the Jewish individuals, which is what we witness in chapter five.  When Eliezer cannot reconcile the belief in God with the horrors of the death camp and the cruelty of the Nazis, it is not only the death of hope, but the death in the faith of God, as well.

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