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Eliezer uses his drive to survive as the focal point of the narrative. It is difficult to address the question, though, because the primary motivation of the narrative is not to detail a triumphant story of survival. It is rather a mournful narrative of how the inversion of values is particularly cruel and painful to endure. I supposed one could say that Eliezer's "smarts" in not speaking nor assisting his father when he was being beaten would be one moment that assisted in his survival. If he had advocated for his father, Eliezer himself might have been beaten, and, in his condition, this would have been fatal. Another moment when Eliezer uses his smarts is when he is able to trade his ration of bread to be closer to his father at Buchenwald. This shows a level of intelligence in understanding the value of bartering goods in order to achieve what is needed. If one really wants to expand the idea of "smarts," saying that he was 18 at the primary selection at Birkenau when Dr. Mengele encounters him was "smart" in that he endured the first selection. The drawback was that it would mark the last moment he would see his mother and sister again. Again, I am not sure one could point to specific moments that reflect a glorious vision of survival because that is not the focus of Wiesel's work. "Smarts" and using skills to survive is a secondary issue to the larger issue of how one appropriates an experience like the Holocaust from ethical and psychological levels.
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