In Night by Elie Wiesel, how does Elie's view of his religion, his father, and the world change during his time at the Nazi prison camps?

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This is an enormous question, and we must keep in mind that when we ask it regarding Elie in Night, we are not approaching it as character development as we would for analysis of fiction. On the contrary, we are considering the changes a man--indeed, a boy--went through in an horrific and very real series of events.

In the beginning of his life, Elie was devoted to the Orthodox Jewish religion. He followed regular prayers and practices, then at night even studied the mystical Jewish secrets called Kabbalah. Then, as he went from camp to camp and saw atrocity after atrocity, death after death--a...

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hasted4english | Student

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To answer this question, first re-read the very beginning of Night. Pay attention to how focused Elie is on his religious studies, to how he describes his father's position of importance in their community, and to his hopes for his own future.  Even when they are in the early days of their imprisonment, Elie holds onto those views.

Then go back through the part of the book which leads up to his father's death. Notice how he is questioning his religious upbringing and the existence of God; he finds himself in the "father" or leadership position, directing his father and pulling him along through their experiences; he no longer seems to think about a future, not even much in terms of surviving the present.  Initially, he cared about helping others; he has lost that value, too, after his experiences.

You might want to use a book summary or other assignments and notes that you have completed while you read Night to help you find just the right passages to clarify your answer and provide appropriate support for it.

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