Wiesel occasionally allowed himself to think about his mother and wonder about her fate.  He and his father speak optimistically about her and the others.  They “pretended.  For what if the...

Wiesel occasionally allowed himself to think about his mother and wonder about her fate.

  He and his father speak optimistically about her and the others.  They “pretended.  For what if the other should still be believing it?”  Why didn’t they share their fears?

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

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The struggle for survival is a thematic element that is evident in every moment of Eliezer's predicament in Night.  Both he and his father endure a great deal in order to survive on a daily, and in some cases, hourly basis.  There was a great deal of realism in both, and a very real embracing of the reality that confronted both of them.  It is here where a unique paradox seems to emerge.  While the individuals who are enduring these abhorrent circumstances are stepped in realism and honest assessments of the situation, in thinking of their loved ones who are separated, but still immersed in similar conditions, there is a tendency to think in non-realistic terms about their own state.  The realism and honesty that permeate Eliezer and his father about their state in the camps does not apply to Eliezer's mother, for whom they are confident that all is well and that she will be fine.  They don't speak of her, and don't engage in the same honest discourse that they have undergone in examining their own predicament.  Perhaps, the reason for this is a psychological one.  We can endure the challenging times in our own settings, filled with all of the terror within them.  Yet, when, for even a moment, we think of our loved ones having to endure even a fraction of what we endure  We lose heart in our own struggle because while we suffer and endure pain, it is of greater agony to see someone we love experience the same fate.  For Eliezer and his father to even contemplate their their mother and wife is seeing, experiencing, absorbing, and breathing the same development of a life so close to hell is inconceivably hurtful and one riddled with agony.  In "pretending," Eliezer and his father exhibit the survival technique of denial and the ability to persevere.

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