Why does Elie become angry with his father, in the book Night?

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mlsldy3 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Elie was a young teen when the German came in and took the Jews into the concentration camps, during WWII. At the beginning of the story, he is close with his family, including his father. Throughout his journey, his relationship changes drastically.

Elie becomes angry with his father, when his father is beaten by Idek. The beating is bad, and Elie is angry that his father has not learned how to avoid Idek's anger and wrath. When his father is beaten, Elie shows no sympathy or compassion for his father. He only shows anger. We can see how Elie is growing in his maturity level. He now has to become his father's caregiver, and he resents this very much. His anger towards his father extends to many others, as well. Because his father is getting older, and his health is deteriorating, he can no longer keep up with Elie. Elie now feels his father is a hindrance. When his father dies, Elie shows no sadness over the loss of a family member. He has become hard and cold.

The horrors of the Holocaust are very real in the book. Elie's memories of his time in Auschwitz and Buchenwald are brought to life in a work of literature that is haunting. Elie's anger is not only towards his father, but also at God. He questions constantly where God is in all of this. This piece of work, brings to life the real tragedies and horrors of what another human being can do to another one.  

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several times throughout the novel when Elie becomes angry with his father. In chapter 4, Elie and his father work in an electrical warehouse under the supervision of a domineering kapo named Idek. Elie recalls a time when they were loading diesel motors onto freight cars, and Idek began screaming at his father for loafing. Instead of being upset with Idek, Elie describes experiencing a feeling of anger towards his father for inciting the kapo's wrath.

Towards the end of the novel, Elie and his father arrive at Buchenwald. Elie's father is exhausted and extremely weak from the arduous journey to the concentration camp. Elie recalls how the SS officers began whipping prisoners in an attempt to restore order while many of the Jews sat down in the snow to rest. Elie's father does the same and begs his son to allow him to sleep in the snow. However, Elie knows that his father will die overnight if he falls asleep in the cold environment. Elie becomes angry with his father for not initially listening to him about the dangers of sleeping in the snow. Fortunately, Elie is able to convince his father not to sleep in the snow, and the two survive another brutal night.