What was life like during the Holocaust and how did people change their ways of living during it? Elie Wiesel was one of the few people who survived the Holocaust and lived to tell the tale. Because of the Holocaust, he has changed his characteristics throughout the traumatic, sullen, and enraging experience. Elie Wiesel changed his characteristics throughout ‘Night’, because he cares for others too much instead of caring for himself, and he realizes near the end that he needs to look out for himself instead of others.
Elie Wiesel changed characteristics from the beginning, being curious, to when he first started the concentration camp, being very kind to others and helping them survive the camp. “One day I asked my father to find me a master who could guide me in my studies of Kabbalah” (Wiesel, 4). In this quote, we can see that Elie has been curious in the beginning because he wants to learn a new religion. Elie is very open minded and is putting himself out there to try new things. We can see that even though Elie is a religious person, he changes and stops believing in his god. “Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because He kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days” (Wiesel, 67). In this quote, we can see that Elie has changed from wanting a new religion to stopping thinking about one. When Elie arrives at the concentration camp, he learns that helping others is a big part of it. “He had to stop a moment. I begged him: ‘Wait a little, Zalman. Soon we will come to a halt. We cannot run like this to the end of the world’” (Wiesel, 86). In this piece of evidence, it shows that Elie is trying to help other people instead of himself. He does not want to see any more people die in the camps. Because of this, Elie goes on to help many more people because he thinks he can help as many people as he can. Therefore, Elie went from being curious and inquisitive, to becoming kind-hearted and helpful.
Elie Wiesel changes after lots of time in the concentration camp because he realizes that he can no longer help people if he wants to survive. “I began to laugh. I was happy. I felt like kissing him. At that moment, the others did not matter” (Wiesel, 72). According to this quote, we can see that Elie does not care about anyone who is headed to the crematorium. He only cares about himself in this moment because he realizes that he is becoming too compassionate towards others and that he will not live if he continues to do so. “‘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. . .’ I listened to him without interrupting, He was right, I thought deep down, not daring to admit it to myself” (Wiesel, 110-111). In this quote, we can see that Elie soon realizes that his father is passing away. He knows that he can no longer take care of him and that he needs to stop helping him and only look out for himself. Moreover, he came to the conclusion that there is nothing he can do to help anymore. From this point on, he has changed to look only out for himself. As a result of these things, Elie went from being very compassionate towards others and helping many people, to becoming self-centered and realizes that he can no longer do anything to help.
Elie Wiesel adjusted his characteristics throughout ‘Night’, because he cares for others too much instead of caring for himself, and he realizes near the end that he needs to look out for himself. Elie has changed so much throughout the book; some of these transformations being good, some being bad. Most importantly, some of Elie’s transformations were able to help others during the Holocaust, which saved lives.