In Night, how is Elie's tooth removed?

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mpenza's profile pic

mpenza | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Elie and his father are in Buna working in the musicians block at an electrical warehouse. Although this life is better than other experiences that Elie has had (and will have) throughout the course of the narrative, Franek (the foremen)demands that Elie give him the gold crown that Elie has been able to keep so far. Franek initially offers Elie an extra rations of soup in exchange for the crown but as Elie continues to refuse Frank becomes more desperate. Franek realizes that the best way to get to Elie is through his father.

Elie's father has problems marching in the precision march that the prisoners are forced to perform everyday and Franek uses every excuse to beat Elie's father for his mistakes. Franek tells Elie that the beatings will stop if he simply gives Franekhis crown. In a tragic twist of fate, Elie must PAY the "dentist" to remove the crown with an extra ration of bread. The dentist extracts the tooth with a rusty spoon. Additonally to add to Elie's burden shortly after receiving Ellie's crown Franek is transfered to another camp and presumably gassed.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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After they arrive in Buna, during the medical check Elie notices that the dentist lists those that have gold in their teeth. He has a gold crown and his number, A-7713, is recorded.

After he and his father are put to work in an electrical plant, Elie is taken to a dentist, who is a Czechoslovakian Jew with "a face like a death mask." When the dentist opens his mouth, Elie sees "a ghastly vision of yellow, rotten teeth." As the dentist examines him, Elie decides to act as though he does not feel well. When he tells the dentist that he is ill, the man replies, 

All right, son. Come back to see me when you feel better. But don't wait for me to call you!

Elie later returns and says again that he does not feel well, and he is granted another delay. A few days after his second visit, Elie learns that the dentist's office has been shut down. It is rumored that the dentist has been exploiting the other Jews for his own benefit, and he has been placed in prison awaiting to be hanged.

Elie's tooth is saved for a while. One day Franek, the foreman, notices Elie's crown in his mouth. "Let me have your crown, kid," he says. Elie makes an excuse, saying he cannot eat without it. Franek jokes that he hardly needs teeth for what the prisoners are given to eat. So, Elie mentions that the crown is on record from his medical check-up and if Franek keeps it, there could be trouble. Franek suddenly becomes brutal and asks again. Still Elie makes another excuse that he must ask his father. Franek responds,"Go ahead, kid. But, I want the answer by tomorrow."

Elie's father worries that Franek will seek revenge if he does not get the gold crown, and this is exactly what happens. The poor old man, who has never learned to march, is ordered to do so. When he cannot perform, he is beaten. Defeated, Elie gives up the only thing of value he has left. A dentist from Warsaw removes it brutally with an old rusty spoon.

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As was mentioned in the previous post, Elie's crown is removed using a rusty spoon. When Franek initially notices that Elie has a gold crown, his eyes shine with greed as he demands that Elie give it to him. Elie does not want to give up his crown and tells Franek that he will have to consult the matter with his father first before he agrees to give up his crown. Franek then begins to torture Elie's father, who has difficulty marching in step. Franek begins to slap and punch Elie's father on a daily basis until Elie agrees to give him the crown. Elie attempts to help his father by giving him marching lessons, but his father is unable to make sufficient progress. Two weeks later, Franek makes Elie pay him a ration of bread for a dentist from Warsaw to pull his crown out using a rusty spoon.  

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