How do Elie's feelings about God change after his captivity begins in Night?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

(eNotes editors may only answer one question per response. If you need more help, please resubmit other questions singly.)

When Elie and his family are loaded onto the trains for deportation, he is too overwhelmed with all that is happening so quickly to be able to think about God's presence or absence. Elie is a frightened but still devout Jew when he leaves Sighet.

As Elie and his father are waiting in line at Auschwitz for their initial processing by Dr. Mengele, his father begins quietly whispering Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead. Elie cannot agree with the words of the prayer, which begins with expressions of worship and devotion to God.

For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank him for?

By the time the night is over and morning arrives, Elie has completely changed, having lost his faith in the trauma of the events that he had just survived.

The student of the Talmud, the child I was, had been consumed by the flames. All that was left was a shape that resembled me. My soul had been invaded-and devoured-by a black flame.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial