“Loss of Religion” – Night Personal Response

Firstly, I want to quickly explain my feature image known as the “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo (made in 1511- 1512). Artwork in itself has many different interpretations (just like written works as well).  It symbolizes the importance of the relationship between God and humanity, seen by God reaching out to Adam. One can assume that the supreme being is extending his arm out to Adam to give him life. This may lead one to believe that without God there is no humankind. 

 

Throughout the novel Night,  author Elie Wiesel introduces the idea of one’s moral and religious beliefs being challenged as a result of extreme, unfortunate circumstances. Best illustrated by Eliezer constantly questioning the means of God throughout the novel.  Disasters naturally bring out the best or worst in individuals. It strips you right to the core, leaving one alone with their true self. Alone, and in most cases, confronting their true values. One can assume that as a result, you gain a deeper understanding of yourself as well as life in general.

 At the beginning of the novel, it is evident that Elie was a very religious Jew. 

“By day I studied Talmud and by night I would run to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the temple.” (pg. 3) 

Tangibly, one can determine that Elie was very religious indeed; considering that his religion was something that occupied his mind day and night. However, he loses that passion when he, and thousands of others, are forcibly put into concentration camps. During difficult times many tend to question why these unfortunate events happen to occur. There is no plausible explanation that grants such terrible acts to exist on our planet. Being forced to concentration camps along with the abuse he endured, lead him to question why he was supporting someone who condones such vile acts, evidently seen by the quote,

“Why, but why would I bless Him?… Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves?” (pg. 67)

The topic of God (or religion in general) is something many avoid to question, but rather to seek an answer in. Eliezer asking God tough questions as well as challenging his beliefs, displays how this miserable time in history has already driven him to confront his religion, something he once was extremely affectionate about. Unable to find an answer, he loses his connection with God entirely.

 

A Shavuot prayer service for Holocaust survivors.

Personally, I too have found myself questioning my religious beliefs in a period of pain and suffering. I grew up with a Muslim mother and a Catholic father. Furthermore, I attended a Catholic school for the majority of my elementary years. I went to church irregularly since my family was not extremely religious due to the fact that they did share the same faith. In general, I never fully believed in what either told me about religion. More specifically, I did not believe that a demiurge existed. I believed in science. What hurt me the most though, is no matter how hard I tried to believe; I just couldn’t. I find it beautiful how some people can have 100% trust in something. Trust that everything is going to be okay. Trust that there is an afterlife dependent on your choices. To have that much love and comfort towards something sounds amazing, and my inability to form this connection with something millions of people look up to – broke my heart. 

Thus came a time when I was not the happiest person alive. Grade seven was a difficult year for me considering that one of my best friends left my school, and I wasn’t in any of my other friend’s classes.  Along with that, I became more aware of serious world issues through books and media as I found more and more solitude. Learning this at a young age and being unable to fully comprehend it, I felt as though all of the issues of the world were laid upon my shoulders. I constantly thought as though life was full of pain. I realized that millions of people suffer every day in dire circumstances for no apparent reason. Why do people kill others? Why doesn’t everyone have food? Why are we constantly harming the environment? There was no answer. Much like Elie, I questioned my God during my melancholic times. Although I never fully believed in a God, there was still a little part of me that had some faith due to my upbringing; but once again I questioned it when times got difficult. How could anyone allow this to occur? Why did God create a world filled with so much pain and suffering, and just allow it to happen? Consequently, I decided to abandon my religion, as I found no answers, and “felt a great void opening.” (pg. 69) 

One can now determine that a product of unfortunate circumstances would be the questioning of an individual’s faith or in the novel Night, the abandonment of faith entirely. There will always be some questions that remain unanswered regardless if a person is religious or not. Nevertheless, curiosity is essential to the human race-  without it, many people would lack a purpose. Our world may not be very equitable and everyone has to go through unjust situations at one point or another. However, it is important to realize that we learn more about ourselves in these tough situations. We, as humans, gain an understanding of what is truly important to us and who we really are deep inside. 

 

Featured Image (The Creation of Adam – Michelangelo): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Creation_of_Adam

Information on The Creation of Adam: http://www.italianrenaissance.org/michelangelo-creation-of-adam/

Jewish People Praying: https://www.timesofisrael.com/for-the-first-time-auschwitz-guides-taught-to-teach-about-jews-spiritual-resistance/

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on ““Loss of Religion” – Night Personal Response

  1. Dear Sarafina,

    You truly are a talent no matter how much you like to deny it. This piece is entertaining, heartbreaking, and most importantly- honest. I appreciate you including your experience with religion even though it has obviously not been the greatest. We’ve had multiple discussions about religion, but I think I understand even more about your struggle through this piece. Your transparency gave your work an incredible amount of depth. I feel that anyone who reads this will be able to really hear where you’re coming from, since everyone interprets things differently.

    I also really enjoyed the quotes you used throughout this piece! They really enhanced your point, and tied Elie’s experiences to yours so that the element of “Night” was not lost throughout your personal writing. Personally, I really appreciated the artwork you included to open your response. I think that it was a wonderful way to introduce people to your work; bringing in God and humanity before you even introduce your point.

    For improvement, I struggled to find anything to point out. Honestly, all I can really tell you is to read your work out loud before you post it, because there are still sometimes minor errors that you miss. But I do the same thing, so I doubt I have any room to talk.

    I really miss seeing you in school, and I hope all is well during this unfortunate time. Keep being amazing, and know that I’m always here to talk even though it can’t currently be in person.

    Sincerely,
    Katie 🙂

    1. Dear Katie,

      First and foremost, thank you for your compliments as well as taking the time to read and comment. I’m flattered to hear that my piece evokes many different thoughts and that it isn’t monotonous. Thanks for acknowledging the quotes I tried to intertwine throughout my blog in addition to the artwork I decided to include. Additionally, I understand that I have to read my work out loud more often to catch those pesky, minor errors. Once again thank you. I miss seeing you in school and in general. Make sure you stay safe. If you ever want to talk during these stressful times I’m here for you.

      Sincerely,
      Sarafina ♡

  2. Sarafina,

    I just finished reading your piece and just- wow. You display great honesty in your writing here, which made it wonderful. I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. Although I am not religious myself, you described your experience with religion quite nicely and it helped me understand your situation quite easily. Just like Katie, I wanted to also say that the quotes you chose tie everything together wonderfully and helped to keep the connection to the novel and your experiences present.

    While I was reading your piece, I found myself having to reread certain sections to make sure I grasped what you were trying to say. My suggestion is that you may want to make sure that with all this amazing flow, your overall meaning doesn’t get clouded over. Other than that, your writing here is great and nothing within it needed a fix.

    Altogether, this piece here is a work of art. Your thoughts are clear and expressed in a piece that kept me reading. I look forward to seeing what other great writings you conjure up.

    Sincerely,
    Kaydence

    1. Dear Kaydence,

      Firstly, thank you for taking the time out of your day to comment on my work- it truly means a lot. I am overjoyed to hear that I can share my experiences in a way that others can understand. Furthermore, I feared that the quotes might not be effective but I happy to see that it helped connect my history with religion to Elie’s. I do acknowledge that I did lose my overall meaning a little, so I plan on going over my work and editing. Lastly, thank you again for commenting and for your excellent criticism. I’m going to try my best to implement your suggestions into this piece and my upcoming blogs as well. Stay safe!

      Sincerely,

      Sarafina

  3. Dear Sarafina,

    What you have written here is incredibly heartfelt. As Katie stated, you are a magnificent writer no matter what you may think (Katie, if you are reading this, you’re also an amazing author). The way you poignantly analyze the topic of religion instantly builds a connection to the reader. Perhaps more impressive is that you keep that connection to the reader strong throughout your piece with your wonderfully open style of writing. There is a certain smooth fluidity that you present readers in this writing piece that is delightful to read. I must also add that each quote and image featured precisely fits your work.
    If I had to select something to improve upon in this piece it would simply be what my commenting predecessors said before me- perhaps read over your work a couple times to smooth it out and fix some small mistakes. Of course, this is only if I had to select something to improve and I can assure you that your writing here is phenomenal.
    I think it’s quite extraordinary that our views of religion and God are so similar and yet we are such different individuals (I would say great minds think alike, but your eight ball skills say otherwise). Frankly, it was refreshing to hear the story you gave us in your piece and I am excited to read your work more in the future. Stay safe!

    Sincerely,
    Ben Nixon

    1. Dear Ben,

      First of all, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog and comment, it means a lot. I didn’t realize that I developed a connection with the reader, so thank you for pointing that out. Furthermore, I’ll try my best to read over my work to catch little errors since that seems to work for many people. Overall thank you for your compliments and feedback (besides your false 8ball reference). Stay safe!

      Sincerely,
      Sarafina

  4. Dear Sarafina,

    Firstly, I love how you included a religious painting from a different time period and connected it to Night— it adds a more personal touch and gives the reader something to think about as they read the rest of your well-written piece, especially when it depicts that ” without God there is no humankind.” I found that very interesting because after that, you talked about the loss of religion and questioning God. The quotes that you chose really helped to show Elie’s journey from being very religious to losing his faith, and they definitely backed up your personal response well. I liked how honest it was, and how you weren’t afraid of putting your deep questions out there. “Why do people kill others? Why doesn’t everyone have food? Why are we constantly harming the environment? There was no answer.” Not only were those questions that made me think, it also flowed beautifully stylistically. The repetition of “why” three times (magic number!) followed by “there was no answer” was a splendid buildup that left me in awe. “Trust that everything is going to be okay. Trust that there is an afterlife dependent on your choices.” also utilized repetition in an effective way and really emphasized the word “trust.” Of course, there were many other times where your writing style really stood out to me. “It strips you right to the core, leaving one alone with their true self” and “To have that much love and comfort towards something sounds amazing, and my inability to form this connection with something millions of people look up to – broke my heart,” (remove the long em dash) are two powerful lines that I particularly enjoyed. Your last line, “We, as humans, gain an understanding of what is truly important to us and who we really are deep inside,” reminded me of the last scene in Night where Elie goes to the mirror and looks at himself and sees his corpse— I am not entirely sure whether or not this was intentional, but it gave me an “aha” moment. Overall, this piece was structurally sound and well done. 🙂

    My critiques are the same as those who commented before me, so I’ll try to pinpoint some minor errors that you could correct. Whilst reading your writing, I noticed how you were trying to play around with different punctuation— this is good— but be careful. As an example, “What hurt me the most though, is no matter how hard I tried to believe; I just couldn’t.” should have a comma instead of a semicolon, as a semicolon only works when the two parts can stand alone. If a period can’t go there without making it sound weird, a semicolon can’t be used either. This happened a few times throughout your writing. At some parts, the punctuation made it flow strangely, so try having someone proofread it. Another thing I noticed is that you used a “one word, followed by multiple words” format for a lot of your sentences (“Personally, I too have…I just couldn’t.” had a lot of them) It gave it structure, but maybe play around with your variety of sentences.

    It was nice to read your work and get to know a bit more about you and your thoughts on religion. I never knew that you went to a Catholic school! Stay safe and well. 🙂

    Sincerely,
    Tiffany

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