For Elie Wiesel's novel, Night, compare fathers and sons.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Elie Wiesel's novel, Night, there are several sets of fathers and sons.

First there is Elie and his father Chlomo. They are in the camp together for a long time, and Elie's father survives almost to the end. Elie's father looks out for Elie all the time. Elie tries hard to make sure they are kept together where they bunk and where they work.

Elie is tormented by the fact that there are times when he believes he would be better off without his father; these thoughts leave him but still he feels guilty. When Elie's father is beaten, Elie does nothing and feels guilty. Even when someone seeing his father sick at the end advises Elie to eat his father's rations because his father will soon die, and not to share his own food with the old man either, Elie thinks of it for a moment, but does not do so.

Another father and son are on the train that is carrying them in the cold weather toward the end of the war. Many of their numbers die on this trip. At one stop, someone throws bread into their car. Elie remains still, but notices an old man has gotten the bread. When his son realizes it, he starts to beat his father for the food, even while his father promises to share it. The rest of the men in the car becomean angry mob. At the end of the melee, both father and son are dead.

A third example of a father and son in the story relates to a rabbi they have met in the camp. When they are running, the rabbi comes to the Wiesels to ask if they have seen his son: he cannot find him. Elie lies and says he has not seen him, but in truth, Elie saw the son sneak off and abandon his father. Elie hopes he will never do the same thing.

There are several examples of father-son relationships in the novel, but Elie and his father, despite the hardships that come with such intolerable conditions, love each other and try hard to see to the other's well-being and survival; the other father-son relationships are sad or tragic.