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Chapter 3 is one of the most pivotal in the novel because this is where Elie is separated from his mother and sisters and essentially where the ties to his childhood and former life officially are severed. Kindness and hope take on new faces in within the walls of the camps. A prisoner helps Elie and his father stay alive and together by offering the tip to lie about their ages. Elie finds that he's been blessed by the mud God created to keep his own shoes, even if it is only for a little while. There is one Polish guard who tells the men that, "Hell doesn't last forever". He also tells the men to stick together and honor their camaraderie because that will help them survive what is to come. Elie reflects that this guards words were, "The first human words." Up until that point, for more than a week they had been treated like animals, at best. After that first night, Elie and the others took comfort in the sunshine and the people who they recognized. Elie offers hope to a man in search of his wife and children and Elie gives him false hope so that he has the will to live, if only for a little while longer.
There is very little positive that occurs in section three, but there are a few incidents that show kindness amidst the brutality. The first is another prisoner who instructs Elie and his father to lie about their ages so that they are protected and can stay together. Next, after the prisoners are stripped and shaved, they are able to wander about and find some comfort in seeing friends. The narrator thanks God for the mud that covers his shoes because the guards don't notice he has them; they were confiscating all nice looking shoes. The narrator also notes the beautiful Spring weather. The prisoner who is put in charge of Elie's barracks is kind and encouraging to them. The prisoners talked together and had hope the war was close to its end. Elie lied to a relative telling him that he had heard his wife and children were well so that the man would feel better. The man in turn brought Elie a portion of his rations when he could. Some tried to hold firm in their faith in God.
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