In chapter 5, why did Eliezer leave the hospital early? What were the advantages and disadvantages to doing so?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eliezer’s foot began to swell due to the cold he was exposed to during the winter and had to visit the infirmary for treatment. The doctor who was Jewish and a prisoner just like the others suggested that they should operate immediately. The operation went well and the doctor assured Eliezer of a full recovery but after a two weeks bed rest. It was two days after the operations that rumors circulated around the camp that the Red Army was drawing closer to their camp. Soon afterwards Eliezer and other prisoners heard the sound of canons. The Germans decided to evacuate everyone from the camp and informed the prisoners. Those at the infirmary were to be left behind but due to the fear of being wiped out by the German soldiers before closing camp and Eliezer’s fear of losing his father, he together with some of the other prisoners in the infirmary decided to join the evacuation. After evacuation Eliezer learnt that those left at the infirmary were liberated by the Russians.

In summary, the disadvantage was he was not among those liberated but was still able to remain with his father which was the advantage.

pirateteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 5 winter comes, and Elie must go to the infirmary.  His foot is swollen and the doctors must drain pus from it.  At this time, rumors begin spreading through the camp that the Russian Army is coming so all prisoners will be moved.  At first, Elie, his father and the other prisoners plan to stay behind, but once they hear that those who remain behind will be executed before the army arrives.  This causes Elie and his dad to evacuate with the rest of the prisoners.  Sadly, after the war, Elie learns that had he stayed, he would have been liberated by the Russian Army two days after they left the camp.