Site Loader

The memoir Night recounts a specific time in Elie Wiesel’s life during the second war. Elie Wiesel was a Jew from Sighet who was forced into brutality and inhuman like living conditions. Elie and his father lived in a concentration camp among other Jews. These concentration camps were often faced with situations in which the Jews could act selfishly and make sure they have their correct needs for survival, or act altruistically and make sacrifices for others. Throughout the memoir, Elie Wiesel makes sure it is very clear that acting selfishly is the correct way to behave. In this setting and situation, acting selfishly is the correct way to live because it is critical for one’s survival. Furthermore, it eliminates the stress of having to take care of another person’s life, especially when you can hardly take care of yourself.         First and foremost, when facing brutality and challenging living conditions inside of  concentration camps, it is necessary to be selfish. This characteristic is very important because it is critical for one’s survival. One of Elie’s first appearances of selfishness in the memoir is at the concentration camp Buna. After hearing about the death of the dentist at this particular camp, Elie writes “I felt no pity for him. In fact, I was pleased with what was happening to him: my gold crown was safe.” (Wiesel, 52). This quote shows how much his gold crown meant to him, even if it meant another person’s life. Giving up his gold crown was not an option for him because with it he could possibly buy a piece of bread or something that’s needed for his survival. Another example of Elie showing selfishness was during the Jewish holidays. As everyone else in the concentration camps prepared for fasting to show their devotion to God, Elie writes “there was no reason for me to fast. I no longer accepted God’s silence. As I swallowed my ration of soup, I turned that act into a symbol of rebellion against him” (Wiesel, 69). This act that Elie does is considered selfish because he is not fasting. This means that he is getting the right amount of nutrients he needs to have in order to survive the challenging living conditions. Secondly, acting selfish eliminates having the stress of being dependent for someone else, especially in this setting. Later on in the book Elie recalls encountering Rabbi Eliahu, who was searching for his son. Elie recalls “his son had seen him losing ground, sliding back to the rear of the column. He had seen him. And he had continued to run in the front, letting the distance between them become greater” (Wiesel, 90). This quote shows that Rabbi’s son was overwhelmed with taking care of his father. Furthermore, Elie also goes through a similar experience after his father’s death. He writes”deep inside me, if I could have searched the recesses of my of my feeble conscience, I might have found something like: Free at last!..” (Wiesel, 112). In this quote, Elie talks about his father’s death and freedom, implying the idea that taking care of someone else while also running away from death is too overwhelming. Some people may say when dealing with brutality and inhuman living like conditions, acting altruistically is the correct way to live. The people who believe that acting altruistically can reference Stein from Antwerp, who was related to Elie’s father because of his giving nature. Elie states “Stein, our relative from Antwerp, continued to visit us, and from time to time, he would bring a half portion of bread” (Wiesel, 44). People can say that Stein was only helping himself and his family through his actions, but what they are not realizing is how acting altruistically in this situation is useless. After Elie receives the portion of bread Stein gives him, he states “And he himself was so thin, so withered, so weak…”(Wiesel, 78). This quote shows that acting altruistically was only affecting and impacting Stein’s life by physically damaging his health. He was thin and weak, which meant he was not getting enough nutrients he needed. Instead of eating his food, he gave most of it up which was arguably generous, but useless. When Elie’s father became very sick, Elie was also giving his father most of his food portions. Elie remembers Blockälteste, or a non-Jew, telling him “Listen to me, kid. Don’t forget that you are in a concentration camp. In this place, it is every man for himself, and you cannot think of others. Not even your father. In this place, there is no such thing as father, brother, friend. Each of us lives and dies alone. Let me give you good advice: stop giving your ration of bread and soup to your old father. You cannot help him anymore. And you are hurting yourself. In fact, you should be getting his rations …”(Weisel, 110). The fact that another person is trying to tell Elie to only worry about himself shows how unusefull being altruistic is inside of those living conditions. In conclusion, acting selfishly when being forced into brutality and inhuman like living conditions, within the concentration camps is the correct choice to make. Acting selfishly during these conditions is important because it can make chances of surviving higher. Furthermore, acting selfishly eliminates stress from worrying about others. Lastly, being altruistic means you have to sacrifice yourself for others. If you can hardly support yourself, sacrificing your life for others will only lead to death.

Post Author: admin

x

Hi!
I'm Erica!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out