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Survival becomes one of the most basic elements in Wiesel's work. Wiesel shows this as almost an animalistic and primal urge to live, something that supersedes everything else in the drive within consciousness. It is something that even trumps the need to forge connections between human beings. For Wiesel, the drive to live and the will to survive was manipulated by the Nazis in such a manner that it prevented any coalescence and cohesion amongst those who were victimized. This is seen early on in the work and continues in the work. Madame Schachter's silence as the other men aboard the train physically silence her, the betrayal of children against their parents, the child who steals bread and does not give any to his father only to watch him beaten aboard a train and then is beaten to death for the bread himself are examples of how the will to survive supersedes all, even bonds between individuals. Wiesel includes these to reflect how the existence was one where survival was all that mattered. He also includes these to bring attention to the fact that this will to survive is what undercut any hope of bonds or connection between people.
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