How is the theme of religion seen throughout Night?

Quick answer:

The theme of religion is showcased by the repeated instances when religious celebrations, which previously meant everything to Elie, are impossible to celebrate. Elie is quite upset with his God and feels less connected to the religion after going through the horrors of Auschwitz.

Expert Answers

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Religion takes centre stage early in this book, when Elie Wiesel meets Moshe the Bode. This takes place in 1941, which is three years before the main action of this book begins. Under Moshe's guidance, Elie starts to study the Torah and Jewish mysticism. His faith is put to the test when Moshe gets deported to Poland.

The sheer horror endured by Elie and his father in the concentration camps following the murders of his mother and sister could be described, in religious terms, as sheer hell. It is inevitable that Elie's faith in God would be constantly under threat as a result of conditions in Auschwitz.

Later, while imprisoned in Buna, a group of men deliberate as to how Rosh Hashanah should be celebrated. Eliezer cannot face the thought of any celebration of the event, even though he would previously have been anticipated and enjoyed it among members of his family.

The theme of Elie's anger towards God is magnified later on Yom Kippur. Eliezer chooses to eat rather than to fast as an act of rebellion against the God who has deserted him and his people. However, it should be noted that he does not do this with any joy. In fact, there is a huge void in his heart as he eats on Yom Kippur.

All these incidences showcase the importance of the theme of religion and what it means—or used to mean—to the characters in this heartbreaking story.

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