27 May 2014
A Bond That Will Never Be Broken
“My hand shifted on my father’s arm. I had one thought- not to lose him” (Wiesel 27). Young boys look up to their fathers for protection and guidance, such as Elie does in Night. These boys love their dads and would be extremely devastated to lose them. In the novel Night, by Elie Wiesel, Elie the main character is a young Jewish boy who is put into a concentration camp with his family. Elie and his father are the only ones in his family who survive and journey on to many other camps. Elie expresses his need and love for his father as the book goes on, leading up to his father’s death and his releasement from the camps. This love between father and son is also expressed in the movie Life is Beautiful (LIB), by Roberto Benigni. In (LIB) the main character Guido is transported to a concentration camp with his son and wife. In order to protect his son from the harsh reality of the camp, Guido explains to him that the concentration camp is simply a game devised to win a new tank. Guido continues to act as if he was playing the game, resulting in his execution by a guard one day for misbehaving. Both Wiesel and Benigni focus on the hardships that took tolls on families during the Holocaust. Wiesel and Benigni use detailed settings and characters to show that family will always be supportive even in the most dehumanizing and sullen places. By furthering the characterization and portraying realistic settings, Wiesel’s Night and Benigni’s (LIB) prove how a family can protect itself in even the most demoralizing places. One day in the work camp, Elie witnessed something he shouldn’t have, and as punishment was whipped in front of all the prisoners, including his own father. “I was thinking of my father. He must have suffered more than I did” (Wiesel 59). Elie, while being lashed by a whip, was still concerned with how this affected his father. He had no clue how much pain his father was in while watching his own son suffer. Elie has no thoughts of pain, only thoughts of worry for his father. He was looking out for his father, which also happens in (LIB). When Guido, and his son get put on a train to be sent away to a concentration camp, Guido comes up with a convincing lie. Guido, when asked by his son why they were on a train, says that they are on the train for his son’s birthday surprise, and that they had planned this all along (LIB). Just as in Night, a family member, a father, protects his son from a cruel world. Guido lies to his son so that he won’t be frightened or scared. He was looking out for his son even as they traveled towards death. Although Wiesel and Benigni share the same thought that family will always be there, even in horrible times, they use different ideas of settings and characters to prove their points. Wiesel writes of his experience and his feelings when they first arrive at the concentration camp. “… in front of us flames. In the air the smell of burning flesh” (Wiesel 22). When Elie arrived at the camp he was aware of what was going on. He and his father smelled the burning bodies and went through the horrible experience together. As just a young boy, Elie had to experience many terrible things that most boys his age will never experience. On the contrary, Benigni expresses a different approach in his movie. When Guido and his son arrive at the concentration camp, his son has no clue of what’s going on and thinks it’s all make-believe. Guido begins to explain to his son all the rules to the game in front of all the other prisoners. When a German officer comes in, Guido pretends he can speak German and translates the officer’s words wrong in order to accustom to the game (LIB). Unlike Wiesel’s experience, Guido’s son was not told what was happening at these camps. Guido was protecting him once again. His son believed that the holocaust was a just a game, which kept him calm unlike Elie. Wiesel and Benigni prove that through settings and characters that even in the most horrific and tragic places, family will always be there. Wiesel and Benigni similarly show the love between father son relationships, though they use different ways to express their point. Wiesel and Benigni’s stories should not be forgotten. Even though they are two different stories they convey the same powerful message. Some people don’t believe anything this significant could reoccur, but people must still be aware and take precautions in order to make sure something like this never happens again. As a country we need to be proactive to make sure no other countries are mistreating and killing their civilians. Wiesel and Benigni have proven to the world that family needs to take care of each other even in seemingly impossible situations. Families need to watch over each other until the very end. As Elie recalled in his novel Night, “his last word was my name” (Wiesel 106).