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How Does Elie Wiesel Change in Response to His Concentration Camp Experiences?

Essay by   •  November 6, 2010  •  Book/Movie Report  •  708 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,671 Views

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Everyday, we go through situations and experiences that affect us in someway, perhaps even change us. Different situations have different effects. The more difficult the situation is, the more of an effect it has on us. Those hard times can be called adversity. How do we, as humans, react to adversity? What are the possible effects it may have?

An example of adversity is the Holocaust - Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jews. In the memoir, Night, we discover how Elie Wiesel changes in response to his concentration camp experiences. The separation from his loved ones and the horrible conditions of these camps affect Elie immensely. Elie is affected in the following ways: physically, emotionally and spiritually. The Holocaust had changed him into a completely different person.

Physically, Elie basically changes from a healthy human being into a walking skeleton. The Jews can be described as "skin and bones". They were also extremely weak. Being forced to work at their labor camps must have been extremely difficult. The lack of food served at the camps, as well as the poor quality of what is being served made him that way. The Jews were only fed bread and soup. It gets to the point where everything revolves around food and each person's own survival. For example, on page 104, Elie's father claims that the other prisoners were beating him. Elie's then says " I began to abuse his neighbors. They laughed at me. I promised them bread, soup..." Elie knows that food is the most valuable necessity in the concentration camps. That is why he uses bread and soup in order to try to sway the other prisoners from giving his father a hard time.

Eli has a definite change emotionally. He thinks about the things he would never consider if he was not in Auschwitz. For example, on page 102, Elie says, "I gave him what was left of my soup, But it was with a heavy heart. I felt that I was giving it up to him against my will." In the beginning, it was as if Elie would do anything for his father. After all, his father was older and it was Elie's turn to look after him. After a while, his father seems like almost a burden to him. Elie felt obligated to give him the rest of his food, but if given the choice, he probably would not have given it up easily.

The spiritual change in Elie was substantial.



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