The Fifth Son
By Elle Wiesel
In the beginning of every book, the author’s goal is to capture the reader’s attention. Some writers immerse the reader into the story immediately, complete submission of the story. Others set a background of great detail before bringing the reader to the core of the story. In The Fifth Son, the beginning starts out slow. One is not sure where the narrator is or what he is describing or what he’s leading to. Then slowly one begins to understand the narrator’s perspective –he is a survivor of the holocaust who is living out the past. He cannot let go of the memory of his father. He introduces his father fairly early in the story.
Early in the story, the narrator has a dream in which he sees his father. He tells the author how the trip he took to Germany is a mistake. The narrator is trying to put together the pieces of his father’s life and why he was the way he was. “I had to come to Germany, to this small gray town, to pierce the mystery that separated me from my father.” (Ellie Wiesel, p. 32)
Every time a new character is introduced, it is in the form of a memory. When he first talks about his father, it was from his childhood. He talks about how he remembers him and what his father told him then. When he describes him in his memories, you can begin to see his father’s personality. He talks about how quiet he was. He never knew what he was thinking or what was on his mind. He always kept to himself and that is why there are so many questions that the narrator wants answered. Another example is when he first talks about his mother. He describes her appearance and about the first day he found out she was sick. He describes her as this perfect woman. She brought life into the family. It was so devastating to the father when he found out that his wife was sick that he waited for her recovery even after her death. One begins to see how the narrator viewed his parents. He viewed them very differently and this is evident by the memories he chooses to describe them.
Elle Wiesel uses memories to establish a plot in the story. All of the events he describes are leading up to the fact