“Why do you cry when you pray?” he asked, as though he knew me well. (Night pg.4)
Crying: everyone has done it. Today in class, the whole class did it together. Today, in class, we listened to a presentation by a girl about family, loss of family, loneliness. As humans, those subjects tend to appeal to emotions, eliciting tears to come and form in our eyes. In class however, many held back these tears. All around class, as the story was being told, most of my classmates had their eyes glazed with water; not tears spilled yet.
I was one of those kids in the class. My tears were ready to stream but I refused them. I told myself not to cry, and focused my attention on the class instead of the words. Some in the class had already broke out, sweaters, arms, and hands covering their faces. Yet, the few were also staring into the room, eyes determined to refute the tears just like me.
When did we start doing this? I don’t remember the last time I sat down and cried. I do want to do it a lot of the time, sit and cry, but yet something inside me refuses to let me do so. Is it shameful to show the tears? Does it label me as weak? I haven’t cried in so long, I’m not sure what emotion it evokes that makes me want to avoid it so bad.
So, what do these tears represent?
I think I found out today. Today in class, I did not start crying until Mr. T told the class, “Guys, I just want to tell you that: you can’t chose the family you are born into, but you can chose the one you make.”
This was the catalyst that pushed my tears out, that gave me permission to finally shed my tears. At first, I did not understand. I just let the tears come, and let them pass. It wasn’t until when I opened my Night book that I realized something worth noting.
I remembered the scene that made me stop and wonder. “Why do you cry when you pray?” Night is a story about a religious boy who lives through the Holocaust. The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in history; I have trouble believing stories that are told about what happened during that time. Babies thrown out of windows, men digging their own graves, the live turned dead in a room by the dozens. And this story begins with the innocent boy, crying as he prays to his God.
His God, the man who controlled the world, with force which could save humanity from treachery. As the boy prays, his hopes go up to his God, and he is hoping with all his heart. I feel that ‘hope’ is what the tears we let ourselves cry represent. When Mr. T told the class that they were free to pick their families, it gave us hope. After the story of sadness from the family, hearing that there was hope, we all became hopeful. Being able to feel the joy of getting a dream gives us tears of joy. But, as one hopes, fears can also be added into the equation. When you wish for a bike, you’re scared you might not get it. However, wishing for a family, one that you can love and love you back, the fear given off from that is intense. That is also why the tears come, hopefulness is painful.
As Night continues, this theory proves true. The narrator of the story, a young boy, discovers that he no longer believes in God. The Holocaust caused many to lose their faith. We, as humans, know now that hopes don’t always come true. The tears form from hope, the tears of joy on looking upon the occasion and the tears of fear from envisioning the worst. These tears were the tears I let myself let lose though. I feel that they are worth it. What is a world without hope?
“Why do you cry when you pray?”