In Night, what is unusual about the hangings that Eliezer has seen in the camp?

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

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Outside of the most obvious images of disturbance of hanging bodies, the hanging of the child brings out some powerful realizations in Eliezer's narrative.  Up to this point, Eliezer has expressed anger in his God's inaction regarding what has been endured and seen.  His faith present at the star tof the narrative has been eroded in an incremental fashion.  Yet, in seeing the child contort and twist for a longer period of time until he died, Eliezer takes a sharper and more defined position on the presence (or absence) of God in the camps. When the prisoner responds that "There's God- hanging in this gallow," it is chilling statement that Eliezer deliberately leaves silent.  This particular hanging is distinctive because it is confirmation that God is dead, and that there is no way to be able to effective articulate the plans of the divine in a situation such as the Holocaust.  The "angel" that violently shakes until the life is shaken out of him does so, just as God dies in the hands of humans.  It is this particular epiphany that almost causes Eliezer to descend into a realm where survival is all that matters, where living as a human being with consciousness has little, if any, value.  It is only survival that matters now, and the death of "God's angel" only helps to confirm this transformation.

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