Throughout the course of the book and his experiences surviving the Holocaust, Elie observed the personality changes that can occur when an individual is fighting to survive.
Elie wanted to remain faithful to his upbringing and training that he should respect and care for his father. He was horrified to be confronted by the actions of Rabbi Eliahu's son, and prayed that he would be stronger.
his son had seen him losing ground, sliding back to the rear of the column...What if he had wanted to be rid of his father? He had felt his father growing weaker and, believing that the end was near, had thought by this separation to free himself of a burden that could diminish his own chance for survival.
In his acceptance speech upon being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Elie expresses understanding of desperate acts by desperate people, pointing out the anger and frustrations of Palestinian refugees and threatened Israelis. However, he also issues a plea for changes in policies and actions that are the cause of such dehumanizing situations.
As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs.
Wiesel comes to believe that it is possible for the human spirit to rise above whatever atrocities have been committed against it in the past, that people do not have to remain brutal and savage forever.