The Role of Religion in the Color of Water

Topics: Judaism, Elie Wiesel, Religion Pages: 3 (873 words) Published: April 3, 2012
Wiesel and McBride’s Hindering Religious Past

Religion is one of the many aspects that make up a person’s identity. Religion plays a major role in the search for identity of Ruth McBride, in James McBride’s The Color of Water, and Elie Wiesel, in his memoir, Night. Elie is tortured an dehumanized in concentration camps because he’s a Jew. He was seen as inferior because of his religion. Ruth was restricted from doing what her heart truly believed in because she was controlled by her Jewish faith. Her father represented the constraint of Judaism because he was a rabbi. Both stories prove religion can have a hindering effect on a person’s search for identity.

Elie’s identity was changed greatly due to the effects of Judaism and the Holocaust. His identity was changed because he’d lost his innocence. “The student of Talmud the child I was, had been consumed by the flames. All that was left was a shape that resembled me. My soul had been invaded – and devoured – by a black flame”, is Elie’s way of explaining that he’s no longer a child and had lost his faith in god’s justice (Wiesel, 37). He felt as though he was no longer a child or a student, he was a prisoner like any Jew. It made him angry to see what was happening to all the people in the camps. Elie began to question God and asked,“Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?” as he was entering Birkenau (Wiesel, 33). From this point on, Elie began to lose his unconditional devotion to God. Although he lost his faith, he continued to pray for strength to stay by his father’s side to support him because he was the most important person in his life. He said,”in spite of myself, a prayer formed inside me, a prayer to this God in whom I no longer believed” because he was praying for a way to preserve his humanity in a prison where every man would fend for themselves (Wiesel, 91).

Judaism affected Ruth...
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