Night by Elie Wiesel Chapter 4 Summary

Instructor: Melissa Iturralde

Melissa is an elementary/middle school teacher and has a master's degree in educational leadership.

Eliezer remains in a camp located in Buna with his father on the musicians' block run by a sweet Jewish man. The two work in a warehouse under the power of Idek, an irrational and unpredictable foreman, where Elie is responsible for counting electrical parts. Day by day, Elie's faith in God diminishes along with his own innocence and morals.

Walking on Eggshells

Working under Idek in the warehouse is not an easy task. Elie and the rest of his coworkers are under constant fear of an unnecessary beating. Elie endures a horrible attack from Idek and is comforted by a French girl (who later shows up in this chapter when she runs into Elie on the Metro in Paris postwar). Elie begins to question his own morals after he watches his father suffer at the hand of Idek. He can't understand why his father hasn't adapted to avoid conflicts. In the past, Elie would feel pity for his father, and often guilt and shame in not defending him. Now, he feels frustration because his father isn't learning how to avoid punishments, though sometimes the abuse is inevitable.

Men of the Musicians' Block

Living in the musicians' block isn't all that bad in this chapter. Alphonse, the head of the block, is kind to everyone and often gives them extra food. Eliezer befriends Juliek, a Jewish violinist, and two brothers named Yossi and Tibi. The brothers are Zionists, believers that all Jews should return to Palestine to reestablish their own homeland. Elie and the brothers make plans to relocate to Palestine once the war is over.

Worth your Weight in Gold (Teeth)

In this chapter we also find that prisoners are being summoned for removal of their gold crowns. Elie is selected to have his crown removed, but he is able to postpone his appointment by pretending to be sick. By the time his turn is up again, the dentist that performs the procedure is publicly hung for illegally trading gold on the side. Elie is relieved of this because he wanted to keep his gold crown to trade on his own in exchange for food. However, a foreman named Franek eventually demands that he turn it over. When Elie refuses, Franek torments and beats Elie's father for weeks until he finally caves and hands it over.

Elie's Public Whipping

Idek publicly whips Eliezer for catching him having relations with a girl in the barracks. Idek brutally lays twenty-five lashes of the whip onto Elie's back until he passes out and warns Elie to never talk about what he saw again.

Air Raids Bring Hope

When air raids occur, prisoners are directed to stay inside their blocks. If they try to leave, they will be killed on the spot. During one air raid in particular, Elie watches a man crawl his way to soup cauldrons that are left outside. He did what everyone longed to do, but they remain inside despite their painful hunger. The man is instantly killed at the moment he reaches the cauldron. Planes bomb the camp, but nothing more comes of it. Despite watching the death of a man and hearing bombs around them, the prisoners manage to regain hope that the end of the war is approaching because help may be nearby.

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