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Assess the significance of Eliezer's emotional change in Night.

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soccerlover3579 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2012 at 11:55 PM via web

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Assess the significance of Eliezer's emotional change in Night.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 5, 2012 at 2:11 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that one of the most significant elements that comes out of Wiesel's work is that Eliezer almost loses his emotional frame of reference as a result of his experiences in the Nazi death camps.  One of the most brutal elements that Wiesel depicts in the narrative is how the Nazis dehumanization resulted in dehumanizing the victims.  This helps to make the degradation of human beings easier to facilitate.  For Eliezer, as his time in the camp increases, he becomes less emotionally moved and more driven towards survival.  While he is connected to his father, Wiesel makes it evident that some of the most brutal elements of the Holocaust was to emotionally sever connection to other human beings.  For the Nazis, the ability of those who were victimized to not have emotional connection to other human beings withers resistance, thereby making it easier for the Nazis to do what it is they do.  Eliezer's emotional change is one in which survival is more important.  The moments in which he is faced with some type of emotional response, as his time in the camps increase, Eliezer becomes more driven to survive and that becomes his most important element.  For this reason, when he sees himself at the end of the narrative, he does not recognize the reflection staring back at him.  The emotional severance has altered his own sense of identity.

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