Discuss Eliezer's admittance to the camp's hospital in "Night."

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

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Eliezer has to be taken the camp hospital in Buna because of the swelling in his foot.  Fundamentally, this strikes a level of fear in Eliezer in a couple of ways.  Initially, Eliezer is afraid that his foot will be amputated by the doctors, making him unable to work and be deemed as "productive."  This also feed into the fear that his staying in the hospital will make him easy prey for the Nazis, who were more concerned with killing off the weak and the sick than anything else.  Additionally, I would suggest that Eliezer's admittance into the camp hospital poses a dilemma that strikes at the basic themes of the narrative.  When the Russian army advance feeds the need to evacuate the camp, Eliezer and his father have a critical choice to make.  Either they stay in the hospital or they evacuate it.  The fear is that if they stay in the hospital, they will be shot.  The belief is that evacuation gives them their best chance of survival.  The opposite turns out to be true, in that the Russian army came in and liberated those in the hospital.  This helps to bring out that the logic and rationality that guided decisions was futile, at times, in that the Holocaust was a moment in time where values were inverted.  What was perceived as rational was actually the opposite.

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