How does Eliezer experience external conflict

2 Answers

akannan's profile pic

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

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I think that the fundamental external conflict that Eliezer experiences is the struggle to survive.  From the most basic point of view, Eliezer is being hunted or persecuted because of his ethnicity.  In this, Eliezer finds it a struggle to survive.  Eliezer struggles to survive.  The Nazis and other camp guards that abuse and demean him represent the forces with whom he wages external conflict.  Eliezer is not assisted by many in the outside world. This makes the identification of Eliezer's external conflict rather plentiful in terms of examples from the text.  When Idek beats Eliezer, it is an example of the external struggle that makes him fight for survival.  The time spent at Birkenau, in the moment of selection where his mother and sister are separated from he and his father would represent another moment of external struggle.  As his time in the camps increase, Eliezer's desire to survive and live becomes of vital importance to him.  This makes his struggle against the world and the forces that seek to deny him his life incredibly important.  In this, Eliezer's struggle to live against the forces that wish to take his life from him becomes a dominant external struggle in the narrative.

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Eliezer experiences several types of external conflict throughout the novel. Eliezer has to survive the brutality of both the German officers and his fellow Jewish prisoners. Throughout the novel, Eliezer is continually trying to avoid being beaten by authority figures in the concentration camps. He also has to fight other prisoners in order to save his dying father and retrieve food. Throughout his experience in the concentration camps, Eliezer has to survive several selections and avoid being sent to the gas chambers. Another external conflict that Eliezer faces is the harsh weather and lack of sustenance. Eliezer has to brave the cold winter and survive on watered-down soup. His clothes and shoes barely cover his emaciated body as he is forced to run to another camp in the middle of a winter storm. Fortunately, Eliezer is able to survive the horrific experience of the Holocaust.
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