In Chapter 8 of Night, how does the father-son relationship change, and how does it compare it to their relationship at the beginning?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of Night, Elie is not close to his father because his father is busy with business and does not approve of Elie's interest in studying Cabbalism. He still sees Elie as a young boy and does not acknowledge that he is growing up.  Likewise, Elie demonstrates some disdain for his father.  He disagrees with his father's complacency toward the increasing strikes against the Jews' freedom and safety and seems to want his dad to take a stand. As the book continues, Elie often choose self-preservation over his family ties.  However, in Chapter 8, when Elie's dad lies dying, Elie does his best to keep him alive.  He seems to have finally gained a true understanding of and respect for his father, feelings that he did not have for him when he was an innocent boy from Sighet. When Chlomo Wiesel dies, Elie states that he cannot cry and that he feels some relief, but this statement is not to suggest that Elie is glad that he no longer has to take care of his father. Rather, it is an expression of someone who is emotionally, physically, and psychologically drained and who realizes that his father is in a better place than he--the living--is.