Discuss the implications of Eliezer's father wishing that his son had gone with his mother.  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is a very powerful moment in a work that is filled with them.  On one hand, I think that Eliezer's father is someone who believes in community and a sense of solidarity.  It is for this reason that he had been so active in his own community in Sighet and been so driven to ensure that he gave towards the cause of solidarity.  It is within this light that he mourns the separation of mother and child.  He understood clearly that his son being separated from his mother would be a critical moment.  Eliezer would not see his mother again.  At the same time, Eliezer's father understands the true nature of the horrific experience that will be in front of them in the death camps.  To a great extent, being able to die with his mother will spare his son of facing this brutal experience.  At that moment, death in the hands of his mother in the furnace is something that the father understands would be preferable to what is in front of them right now.  The ironic element in this is that Eliezer's father wants his son to maintain the bonds of familial piety with his mother, something that will be tested and repudiated between father and son as the narrative develops.

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