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Night

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  • March 2013
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Jil Rück
Mrs. Herding
Modern World Literature
20 February 2013
Quote Analysis 2
Death of Merciful God
In the memoir Night, written by the Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, the harsh environment and circumstances during his time in the concentration camps shattered and transformed Elie Wiesel’s view on his merciful God and kept him questioning and struggling with his faith. During their time in Buna death was a daily agenda: many men and women died of undernourishment, overburdening their bodies, selections or simple illness, but also torture and hangings took many lives. Eliezer watched many public punishments, but none of them really touched him except the hanging of a young, angel-faced pipel: because even though their living circumstances were horrifying, “To hang a child in front of thousands of onlookers was not a small matter” (64). While the execution, as the chair was tipped over and the young boy was lingering between death and life for further thirty minutes, everyone kept silence. Only after the child was hanged, a man behind Elie’s back was saying: ‘“For God’s sake, where is God?’” Elie recalls, “And from within me, I heard a voice answer: ‘Where He is? This is where—hanging here from this gallows….’ That night, the soup tasted of corpses” (65). Elie could not accept that his merciful God could let such a cruelty happen without doing anything against it. So he felt connected to the young servant boy because he also underwent a similar slow and painful spiritual death but instead of the young pipel his merciful God was hanging on the gallon, murdered by the Nazis and witnessed by him. Additionally the death of the young boy symbolized the death of Eliezer’s childhood caused by his completely transformed and shattered world view. He had lost his naive thinking and the faith in mankind because he realized that not everyone around him was moral or kind since not even the SS decreased the punishment for the young pipel. As well his ideal of a wise,...