Essay about Eliezer Internal Conflicts caused by the Guilt of Surviving

Essay about Eliezer Internal Conflicts caused by the Guilt of Surviving

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In Elie Wiesel’s Day, the protagonist Eliezer has a past that continually influences his daily life. As a survivor of the Holocaust, he is constantly reminded of his friends and family who perished in the camps. Eliezer lived in a concentration camp for five years, where he witnessed death and the inhumane acts of murder. Since he has already experienced death, he is not afraid of it or the afterlife. These haunting memories inflict pain upon Eliezer and cause him to feel that life is not worth living. He mentions continually throughout the novel that he wishes he were dead. These feelings are caused by the guilt that he carries for surviving when compared to the fate of others. Throughout his time in the hospital, Eliezer struggles with an internal conflict between surviving and dying, which suppresses his personal growth; he simply cannot erase his past memories, which cause him to believe that death is the best solution for his guilt.
Eliezer has ample amount of time to think about his horrific memories of suffering and death that he witnessed in the concentration camps while healing in the hospital. He is haunted by his memories of family and friends, who are no longer alive. As a result of these memories, he no longer feels joy and can not find a reason to keep on living. Eliezer shows his lack of joy while with Doctor Russel and Eliezer thinks that “death is not my enemy. If he [Doctor Russel] doesn’t know that, he knows nothing…He has seen come back to life, but he doesn’t know what I think of life and death” (16). Eliezer’s memories of the Holocaust and his family cause him to have recurring feelings of guilt because he survived these death camps where other, more worthy and deserving people did not.
In the passage in...


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...periences of a Holocaust survivor. Wiesel created the protagonist in order to represent some of Wiesel’s own experiences and thoughts and to also portray the other way of dealing with unpleasant memories. However, the protagonist and Wiesel are not one and the same. By incorporating fictional events and characters into this work, the author manages to gives insight into the mind of a Holocaust survivor without making the novel an autobiography of his own personal experiences. Through the protagonist, Elie Wiesel allows the reader to understand Eliezer and that he is still deeply haunted and disturbed by his experiences even years after he has been liberated. With his unfortunate past, it makes it hard for Eliezer to let go of his memories and guilt and move on in life.



Works Cited

Wiesel, Elie. Day. Trans. Anne Borchardt. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.

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