Conflicts in Night

By Rachel Baldwin

Man vs. Man

An example of a man vs. man conflict in Night is between Elie and Idek. It was stated in the novel that Idek was a man prone to angry outbursts (page 57), and one of these altercations was towards Elie while he was in the factory and was beat up quite seriously. "He leapt on me, like a wild animal, hitting me in the chest, on the head, throwing me down and pulling me up again, his blows growing more and more violent, until I was covered in blood." (page 60) In this case, Elie was beaten by the conflict because he didn't retaliate back at Idek (page 60).

Man vs. Self

An example of a man vs. self conflict in Night is when Elie's father is being beaten up by Idek (page 62). You would think that this would be man vs. man, but it is not because Elie is debating with himself whether or not to act (page 62). Although he loves his father and feels a duty to protect him, he is more worried about saving himself and concerned for his lack of knowledge about Idek (page 62). Elie is once again beaten by the conflict because he didn't do anything, but you can inference that he felt guilty about this incident.

Man vs. Nature

An example of a man vs. nature conflict in Night is after Elie must have his foot operated on when it becomes filled with pus. After this, their are rumors that the camp is going to be liberated, so the camp is being evacuted, even those in the infirmary (page 86). Elie must trek across the snow on his still healing foot, as well as in the intense cold (pages 90-96). "We were outside. The icy wind stung my face. I bit my lips continually to prevent them from freezing..." (page 95) I feel that Elie overcame this particular conflict because he managed to survive the journey, but he was definitely affected negatively because this was a difficult trial because of of his wounded foot and the weather.

Man vs. Society

An example of a man vs. society conflict in Night is the way that the Nazis treat the camp prisoners. They look down on them and treat them like they are not real people by taking away their names and giving them numbers (page 51). Even the bathing of the Jews is more for disinfection rather than out of respect (page 45). Even the words above the gates, "Work makes you free", is very ironic in the fact that they are still prisoners and not people who matter (page 49). This was most definitely the most negative conflict in the story, and if you just look at it, you would think that this would have beaten the characters, and it did for some, but all of this treatment still didn't make some of the Jews lose their pride and dignity, so they overcame the conflict.