Night Elie Wiesel Faith is a recurring theme in Night. Discuss Elie’s faith throughout the memoir. Night, an autobiographical memoir of a Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, mainly focusses on the recurring theme of faith. However, the memoir is centered on the protagonist, Elie, and his experiences with faith. Through Wiesel’s detailed and descriptive narrative, the reader is made aware of the horrific and deeply saddening events a youth endures, leading to his loss of faith in God.
Elie’s transition from being a devout believer in God at the beginning of the memoir to a spiritually empty person at the conclusion is truly saddening, shocking and brutal to read. The beginning of the memoir is written in a very peaceful manner, with Wiesel focussing mainly on Elie’s devotion and belief in God. Through Wiesel’s non-violent style of writing at the beginning of the memoir, he is able to depict the naturally peaceful way that the Jewish people live in.
Peace, devotion and belief are all in the nature of the Jewish community. Wiesel depicts Elie as an ideal Jew, as Elie is extremely devoted to God, often, if not always, weeping while praying at the broken down altar. Through this, Wiesel attempted to show the great importance and power that God exercises over the Jews. Elie is a very dedicated disciple of God; he loves Him, he prays to Him every day, and holds the belief that God is his saviour and will ultimately keep him safe from harm.
As the memoir advances, Wiesel gradually introduces violence into the narrative. The effects of death, silence and emotional turmoil on Elie’s faith in God, during his time at the death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, are seen through Wiesel’s thorough descriptions of the events that Elie witnesses. Because of the descriptive and seemingly accurate manner that Wiesel writes Night, the reader is often sceptical as to whether, and how much of, the memoir can be seen as an accurate historical account of the Holocaust.
However, despite the doubts about the memoir, Wiesel’s narrative beautifully depicts Elie’s loss of faith in God. To the Jews, and especially Elie, God is supposed to be this protector of man; full of love and compassion, yet when they were in a desperate need of being saved from the torturous events, God had abandoned them. This great betrayal and anger Elie feels leads him to losing faith and trust in God.
Wiesel’s own anger towards God can often be seen through Elie’s internal emotional outbursts, which are often quite abrupt and complex for a young boy. This shows that Elie’s, and therefore Wiesel’s; faith was largely affected by the Holocaust and the realisation of God’s abandonment of his children. God was Elie’s safe haven. He was someone who Elie could pray to, and the one who provided him with a peace of mind and knowledge that he was out of harm’s way.
Elie’s complete faith in God towards the beginning of the memoir and his gradual loss of faith as the text progresses illustrates Wiesel’s idea of how deprivation of basic human needs, such as care, nutrition and shelter, can lead even the most religious, God-loving, youth to question, hate, and loose belief in, what they had once so deeply cherished and loved. Personally I do believe that Wiesel was able to portray the gradual change of Elie’s faith in God, despite some parts of the text seeming a little exaggerated in terms of emotional disturbance.