Night Conflicts

by: Zoe Boylan

Elie vs. Idek- Man vs. Man

In the book Night, Elie was whipped by Idek for seeing him with a polish girl. Idek punishes him, because he has seen to much and could put his job in danger. As Elie is being whipped he begins to not feel the pain anymore, this happens because of the physical numbness, but also because of a mental block. He refuses to feel the pain of the whip and of his father watching. The punishment gives Idek a sense of power and strength. Elie, although physically defeated is mental strong through the incident. A piece of text evidence that supports that is, "An ordinary prisoner has no right to meddle on other people's affairs... I am obliged, therfore, to make it very clear to him once and for all." This shows how Idek feels as he is gaining power and respect, by punishing Elie. "Then I was aware of nothing but the stroke of the whip", proves that Elie didn't allow himself to feel the pain of himself or the people around him, he just focused on the strokes of the whip. The final piece of evidence is "His voice was calm and reached me through a thick wall... Two more I thought, half conscious." This shows us how Elie was physically defeated, by passing out, but he stayed emotionally strong, and told himself that it was almost over.

Elie vs. His Beliefs- Man vs. Self

Throughout the story Elie battles between whether he believes in his God anymore or not. Elie tries to figure out how his God could allow all of these people to be killed if he is "ever-good." Elie finally decides to stop worshiping and accept his situation for what it is. He begins to lose hope. Elie doesn't participate in any of his religious rituals anymore and that seperates him from his father. Some text evidence that supports this conflict includes, "For the first time, I felt anger rising within me. 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?" This is the first time that Elie feels like he shouldn't worship God, it shows that he is slowly fading away from his old self. "Deep down, I was saying good-bye to my father, to the whole universe, and against my will I found myself whispering the words: "Yisgadal, veyiskadash, shmey raba … May his name be exalted and sanctified …" My heart was about to burst. There, I was face to face with the Angel of Death …" This quote represents the constant struggle Elie was facing. Even when he wanted to tell himself he didn't believe anymore, he found himself turning back to his faith. The quote, "Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself" shows us that Elie feels like not only his fellow Jews have been killed, but also his faith. He has lost his innocence and his belief in a just and loving God.

Elie vs. The Elements of Nature- Man vs. Nature

In the book, Elie and the other prisoners are constantly facing harsh weather conditions. They experience harsh cold nights, and even snow and ice. They are constantly being forced into the elements in little to no clothing, causing illness and fatigue. A piece of text evidence includes, " An icy wind blew in violent gusts. But we marched without faltering." This shows that the men were effected by the cold, but knew that the couldn't stop. They feared something worse than the cold, they feared the chance of death if they stopped moving. "When I woke up, a frozen hand was patting my cheeks. I forced my eyes open. It was my father", the prisoners were desperate for sleep, but if they didn't stay awake they could die of hyothermia. The prisoners had to choose if they wanted sleep or death. The quote, "The snow continued to fall in thick flakes over the corpes" gives you a vivd image of the amount of death and struggle caused by the cold. People were constantly giving up on life, and giving in to their exhaustion. Elie struggles with the decision to stay alive or to end his suffering.

The Jews vs. The Nazis- Man vs. Society

The Jews were being forced into concentration camps, because of the belief that they were "dirty" and "dangerous to society." Many people agreed with Hitler's ideas and helped him to pursue them. The Jews were placed in unhumane situations and were murdered for no good reason. A piece of text evidence is, "From that moment on, everything happened very quickly. The race toward death had begun... First edict: Jews were prohibited form leaving their residences for three days, under penalty of death... The same day, the Hungarian police burst into every Jewish home in town: a Jew was henceforth forbidden to own gold, jewelry, or any valuables. Everything had to be handed over to the authorities, under penalty of death... Three days later, a new decree: every Jew had to wear the yellow star." This quote expresses how the Jews lives started changing rapidly. Within a matter of days their lives had been changed forever and they may not ever see their families again. They were punished for things that they didn't do, and were treated with no respect. Another piece of evidence is, "Humanity? Humanity is not concerned with us. Today anything is allowed. Anything is possible, even these crematories..." It shows that the Nazis were killing people in ways that were unheard of. People began committting suicide, because they wanted to avoid their horrible fate. "Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed", the journey of suffering had just begun for Elie and his fellow prisoners. The Jews were put in unbearable conditions everyday, and forced to work to there death. They faced long harsh winters and were constantly surrounded by death and brutality.