The last installment of my Dialectical Journals By Elie Wiesel.
I found that when one hundred men fit in the cattle car when only eighty men, women, and children only fit in the previous cattle cars was interesting. The weight and volume that each of these men took up was greatly reduced if an extra twenty of them fit into the same amount of space. The idea of death seemed to soothe Elie this chapter. As the cattle cars slowly passed through the empty wastelands and German cities, the hunger and thirst seemed to overcome the other men inside the car. I found it really interesting that men would kill their own fathers over a small piece of bread. Since the Germans were cruel enough, they through over crumbs of bread to the Jews in the cattle cars. Men fought each other for the small piece of bread. One example that was written was an older man found a piece of bread and hid it, but as soon as his son saw him he killed his father for the piece of bread; the father was planning to give his son a piece of the bread before he killed him. This really shows the animistic behavior that the people are currently presenting. The drive for food and water has superseded the basic human emotions. This long train ride has also taken a toll on Elie and his father. They are both weaker than they have ever been before, and they just wished that the end was near; they were also expecting the red army to liberate them with the days to come. Meir Katz, one of the strongest men that Elie’s father had come to know has also been weakened. He was very weak spiritually, and he has given up hope. This proves that even the strongest are prone to weakness.
As the cattle cars pulled up to Buchenwald, twelve of the original one hundred left the cattle car alive. The conditions had been so rough during the journey that the others had perished, or as mentioned above, killed. The chapter seems to pass by like a blur. Elie seems to “fast forward” this part of the story. that this was one of the most painful times of his life, and he was forced to skip the many heart wrenching details. The death of his father, a week before liberation shows that time does matter. When Elie’s father complains about the pain, and how he wants to “rest” foreshadows that his father will die soon. He wasn’t talking about sleeping, instead he was mentioning eternal rest. Elie’s father’s condition only continued to worsen. Soon his father was unable to speak properly, and he was beaten and taken advantaged of. The Polish and French men in his bunk stole and beat his father because he wouldn’t be silent at night. This is another example of the animalistic behavior that they have been demonstrating throughout the latter half of the book. Even with his father’s death emanate, Elie still continues to share food, showing the reader that Elie has not completely disconnected himself from the world and his own feelings. In the end, Elie felt relieved of a great burden after his father passed. He was guilty for saying this though.
Elie seems to be in doubt that his father and mother has died. He did not think of them because he doubted that they really died. Also, the want and need of food overcame his sadness. Elie was lucky when he was given a block leader that knew when the Nazis wanted to exterminate the rest of the Jews. The time of liberation was approaching, and the Nazis did not want the Jews to become free; therefore, they planned mass “selections”. Each of these days, Elie mentions that there were 10,000 people that went out and never came back. After liberation, many of the Jews did not seek revenge, they only sought food and shelter. Days after liberation, Elie was overcome by food poisoning; he mentions his image in the mirror. The corpse staring back at him had never left him. This seems to tell the reader that Elie was always Elie; although, his appearance changed.