What is the author's view on adversity and hope in Night?

The author's view on adversity and hope as they are revealed in Night is that all hope other than the base instinct for individual survival is merely an illusion, and that adversity reveals this truth in time. His father's death represents an even larger shift toward this belief.

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In Night, Elie Wiesel does discuss both hope and adversity. However, the concepts appear at different stages of the memoir, revealing hope in chapter one as the false belief that Elie and the other residents of Sighet have before the horrors and adversity of the Holocaust takes hold in their lives.

Once the Germans move into Sighet and start off as generally kind, Elie states,

The optimists were jubilant: "Well? What did we tell you?...There they are, your Germans...Where is their famous cruelty?" The Germans were already in our town...the verdict was already outand the Jews of Sighet were still smiling. (10)

Here, Elie is revealing the beginnings of the key belief that optimism, at this time and place, was mere foolishness and weakness. His belief is further strengthened at the beginning of chapter three, once they arrive at Auschwitz. He relays,

The beloved objects that we had carried with us from place to place were now left behind in the wagon and, with them, finally, our illusions (29).

Once the realization that hope for freedom is impossible in their situation, Elie and his father begin to form a bond through their adversity and begin to believe that their mutual survival is the only hope. Through beatings, hunger, and sickness, the two work together. However, as the situations become increasingly more fatal, Elie begins to resent his father's weakness and eventually, once his father dies, claims,

And deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last! (112)

Thus, Elie loses his last vestiges of hope in something deeper than his own instinctual survival with his father's death. Elie ends his memoir with the somber words:

From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me. (115)

His loss of hope, in his mind, brought about his loss of true and meaningful life.

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