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What is the overall message Wiesel is trying to convey about fathers and sons?

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BOB1234 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:54 AM via web

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What is the overall message Wiesel is trying to convey about fathers and sons?

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

Posted November 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM (Answer #1)

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Wiesel does not focus his work and writing exclusively on the relationship between fathers and sons.  His advocacy for greater understanding of the Holocaust is more general in scope.  Wiesel's most famous work, Night, does offer some insight on the relationship between fathers and sons.  Wiesel places this relationship in the scope of the Holocaust.  Wiesel argues that the real tragic condition of the Holocaust was the dehumanization that resulted.  Individuals lost dignity in the eyes of one another.  Certainly, the Nazis dehumanized the people they targeted.  Yet, Wiesel also makes clear that a component of this tragic condition was the way in which victims dehumanized one another.

Certainly, this is evident in the relationship between fathers and sons. When Rabbi Eliahu's son deliberately "loses" his father in order to save himself, Eliezer offers a prayer that he does not do the same.  In true Wiesel tragic fashion, Eliezer does the exact same thing as his father calls out his name and Eliezer fails to respond.  The message present regarding fathers and sons becomes that the true horror of the Holocaust is one in which bonds between loved ones are severed in the name of survival.  Transcendent notions of the good are replaced with contingency and temporality.  This becomes the message that Wiesel delivers about both the relationship between fathers and sons during the Holocaust and the true terror that exists within it.

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