Monday, February 14, 2011

Chapter 4 (pages 47-65): "Only the first really hurt."

When Elie was whipped by the Kapo, he said that "Only the first really hurt." Why?


  1. The first whip only hurt because Elie grew numb to the pain. With each contact of the whip to the skin on his back, his body adjusted to the sharp, powerful blow. The twenty five other whips hurt him, but the pain did not amount to the stinging burn of the first whip. Elie knew for a fact that Idek would not forget his threat of making him pay the price for seeing him and the Polish girl. Knowing this, it probably was not a surprise to Elie when the punishment was revealed. Also, he had already been violently beaten by Idek once before. As the Kapo publicly whipped him, Elie developed a state of unconsciousness. Although he himself could not feel the pain, his suffering body responded to the lashes by passing out. In the end, the pain he did not feel was displayed when he forced himself to stand without allowing his body to fully recover from unconsciousness.
    -Nancy N.

  2. He says this because he became use to the pain, and in the same area. Like frostbite, youa begin with your shivering in the immence cold until after a while you just feel nothing anymore. Same with the wipping, the first one is horribly painful especially with it being cold, but the blow did make a warm area on his back and after a hit it was like nothing. Then hit passing out from the hits was involentery, his mental self maybe didn't feel the pain, but physically his body still was taking quite a beating. So naturally his body had to go unconcious because of all the pain being put out upon him, it is like a defense mechanism your body has to put you out of pain once it reaches a certain extreme that is why sometimes in torture you are given adrenaline to keep your body pumping and fighting. -alex

  3. I think it only hurt the first time because as the other twenty-four whippings were comming, he kept getting light-headed. He started to become faint I suppose. Another thing that it could have ment was that only the first one stuck out. Obviously he knew that Idek was not jocking when he said he would make him pay. He knew something was comming. He probably felt a shock of pain from the first whipping but because he was used to being beaten, the rest did not register. In his mind, he did not feel the pain, but his body did. That is why he passed out. Also, he knew his father was ou there. He knew he was watching. And he knew it would hurt him to see his son in pain, being beaten in front of everyone. Elie probably thought the first one hurt him and his father. To him physically and his father emotionally. But the rest did not hurt because maybe he thought his father accepted that he could do nothing to stop it.