Essay on How Does Elie Wiesel’s Struggles To Stay Human

Everyone is born to be different. People are born with their own quirky personalities, habits, and flaws. So many people attempt to change to be what is socially acceptable, but is being the same really what people want? Dehumanization; Hitler uses this tactic during the Holocaust to strip the Jewish people of their individuality. He replaces their personalities with animallike tendencies. Throughout Elie Wiesel’s autobiography Night, he undergoes the symptoms of emotional death, encounters faith-breaking situations, and internally struggles with what is morally right versus the mentality of a twelve-year old boy trying to survive.

Wiesel reluctantly transforms into an emotionally dead being due to his imprisonment in the German concentration camps. The camp dentist explains to Elie that his gold crown is going to be removed from his mouth. Day after day to avoid this, Elie comes up with excuses as to why he cannot have the crown taken away. This goes on for a few days until the dentist is caught trafficking gold teeth. Escaping the painful procedure, Elie keeps his gold crown. “I now took little interest in anything… Bread, soup, — these were my whole life,” (pg. 50). Eating is one of the only things keeping him alive.

The little pleasures of life are irrelevant to him because the necessities are now so scarce. The part of his mind that wonders ceases to exist. The deprivation of a necessity causes his instincts to kick in. Like an animal, his only thought is survival. On another day, the prisoners are running from one concentration camp to the next. They will be shot if they stop running for any reason, and the run takes about a day. Elie is attempting to motivate himself to keep running, but it is extremely difficult because of the fatigue in his muscles. “… I could feel myself as two entities – my body and me.

I hated it,” (pg. 81). Feeling detached from his body, Wiesel is physically and mentally numb. He is reaching a point where it would be easier to quit the game of survival and die. He no longer feels the aching pain in his legs or the fear. The mental separation of him and his body shows that he no longer associates his body with meaning or life. Living in life threatening conditions for a long period of time causes Elie to doubt the fairness of God. A large group of prisoners are at a solemn service celebrating the eve of Rosh Hashanah.

The Jews are praying to God, and Wiesel grows angry. Why should I praise His name? Praise Thy Holy Name, Thou Who hast chosen us to be butchered on Thine alter? ” (pg. 64). Elie feels as though God would not let such inhumane things happen to His people. He is upset with God because Jews continue to pray to Him while so many are being murdered for no apparent reason. People pray for God’s grace, but He does not seem to be answering their prayers. Elie concludes that God is not as just as he once believed. In the evening, the prisoners lie around, talk about God, and sing Hasidic melodies. “But I ceased to pray.

I did not deny God’s existence but I doubted His absolute justice,” (pg. 42). The daily prayers of deliverance from the concentration camps appear to be in vain because no one seems to be coming to save the Jews. God is supposed to be fair and just, but Elie thinks He is ignoring the Jews’ pleas. He seems to be sitting back and watching the heinous crimes of Nazi Germany against an entire race. This thought convinces Elie that God is abandoning the Jewish people. Wiesel’s unfortunate predicament forces him to choose between self-preservation and commitment to his own father.

Elie and his father are at their first concentration camp and are entering their barracks. His father asks a gypsy where the restroom is; he is hit in return. “My father had just been struck, before my eyes, and I had not flicked an eyelid. I had looked on and said nothing. Yesterday, I should have sunk my nails into the criminal’s flesh,” (pg. 37). Out of fear of being hit, Elie subconsciously makes the decision to not retaliate on his father’s behalf. He figures that getting into a confrontation with the gypsy will not benefit his chance of surviving.

His personality is already changing because of his new environment. He knows this is a life or death situation, and he can only protect himself. It may be morally wrong, but he is only trying to blend in and survive. Elie, his father, and other prisoners are working in a warehouse. Idek, a kapo, has a random, violent fit and attacks Elie’s father. Elie watches his father suffer blows from the kapo. “In fact, I was thinking of how to get farther away so that I would not be hit myself,” (pg. 52). Instinctively, most people will defend their parents if it is needed.

Elie watches as his father is beaten for no reason. Once again, he is thinking about own safety, not his father’s. Getting hurt would lessen Elie’s chances at survival, so he decides against helping his father. His morals and mentality are changing completely because he is being treated as less than human. Eliezer Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, and he lives a seemingly normal life. His personality is not like it was before his year spent in the German concentration camps, but it is no longer as it was during the Holocaust either.

He does not see himself as a body with no meaning, and his faith is stronger than that of the angry boy he was who thought God abandoned him back in Nazi Germany. After traumatic and life altering experiences, a person has to have the bravery, determination, and a will to want to return to a life of normalcy. Many do not recover, but the success or failure of a recovery depends on the individual person. Wiesel, now a successful, contributing citizen of so roof that re-humanization after dehumanization is more than possible.