Hope in Night by Elie Wiesel and Welcome to Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow
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In Night by Elie Wiesel and Welcome to Hard Times by E.L. Doctorow, the reader witnesses the purpose of hope in one’s life. Wiesel and Doctorow fabricate their works around the trials and tribulations one suffers and what causes one to persevere to continue living. Elie and Blue, characters in the works, experience a life full of suffering and destruction. Even through this, they both live on with a purpose unknown to the reader, and perhaps unknown to themselves. Elie and Blue live on, but to no avail it seems, as both authors end their works with an ultimate destruction of the lives of their characters. However, Wiesel and Doctorow express that Elie and Blue persevere through their lives entirely as a result of hope. These authors suggest that suffering will exist in everyone’s life, and amidst this suffering one often searches for meaning. As Elie and Blue demonstrate, hope determines one’s meaning and purpose in life. Wiesel and Doctorow prove that one’s hope defines one’s existence; however, that hope only masks the futility of life, through the presentation of Elie and Blue’s construction of hope, destruction of hope, and adaptation of hope.
In order to have meaning or a purpose for existence, one must construct a sense of hope found on one’s perception of truth or value. Elie constructs his hope around his religion, faith, and family: three things grounded with a firm foundation that will never shake, at least it seems. After years of studying Jewish law and religion, Elie becomes firmly grounded in his beliefs and faith. Once uncertainty begins to settle in, Elie and others cling to their family and their prayers as they wait to hear the news Elie’s father will bring them: “To the last moment, people clung to hope” (Wie...
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...ty of hope in life. Wiesel and Doctorow express this necessity through the stories of Elie and Blue and the trials and tribulations they endure. Through their suffering and destruction Elie and Blue search for meaning, and in the end the reader learns the conclusion of their search. Elie and Blue discover that even in the destruction of hope and the exposure of the futility of life, one’s hope must evolve and adapt in order for to continue to have meaning in existence. But evolution to what end? For hope evolves only to be destroyed. The final destruction being death: an acceptance of the futility of life, yet still a creation of hope that others might learn this truth.
Doctorow, E. L. Welcome to Hard Times. New York: Ballantine, 1988
Wiesel, Elie, and Marion Wiesel. Night. New York, NY: Hill and Wang, a Division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006.