At the beginning of the book, Eliezer was in the higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This hierarchy starts at the bottom with physiological needs, and progresses upwards with safety needs, belonging and love, esteem, and finally self-actualization. Eliezer was working with his love and belonging needs with respect to his religion. He was obsessed with the Jewish scripture. He wanted to learn. He was an extremely intellectual teenager. He would study the Jewish scripture with Moche the Beadle. "We would read together, ten times over, the same page of the Zohar. Not to learn it by hear, but to extract the divine essence from it." His views on the divinity of God do not endure through the Holocaust and the concentration camps.
When Eliezer and his father, Chlomo, arrived at their first concentration camp, Eliezer was in an emotional agony. He considers running to the electrical wire to escape the "slow agony in the flames." His father replies by weeping and reciting the prayer of the dead. "May His Name be blessed and magnified" This tests Eliezer’s faith for the first time. "Why should I bless His name...what had I to thank Him for," he said...
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...take away the freedom of thought. It will stay with us until the end of time. Viktor E. Frankl illustrated this in his essay “An Inner Freedom” from the book Man’s Search for Meaning. He stated, “The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not the result of amp influences alone.”
Night by Elie Wiesel is a very sad book. The struggle that Eliezer endured is similar to one that we all face. Eliezer’s was during the holocaust. Ours can be during any period of life. If we set our priorities in our hearts, nothing can change them except ourselves. Night is a prime example of this inner struggle and the backwards progress that is possible with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It teaches that the mind truly is “over all.” As Frankl wrote, “Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate,” no matter what the circumstance.
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