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What does the hanging of the child who looks like a sad angel symbolize for Eliezer in...

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lexbrwn | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2013 at 4:41 PM via iOS

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What does the hanging of the child who looks like a sad angel symbolize for Eliezer in Night?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 19, 2013 at 3:09 AM (Answer #1)

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The young boy was a pipel, a Jewish boy who was chosen to be a servant for the kind supervisor of the area of the prison in which Elie and his father were housed. The prisoners "loved him like a brother" because he wasn't as cruel as so many of the other oberkapos, and they appreciated the youthful innocence and physical beauty of the pipel.

After the Oberkapo is removed from his position for involvement with the resistance, the pipel is tortured but gives no information to the SS. He is "condemned...to death, him and two other inmates who had been found to possess arms." However, the pipel is too small - his neck is not quickly broken by the noose, so that he "remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes." Elie sees God "hanging here from this gallows" as he watches the pipel struggle. It is yet another movement toward the death of Elie's faith in God.

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