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Elie didn't want to give up his shoes for food because he liked them. Besides he needed warm shoes so his feet wouldn't freeze from the cold in winter. People that didn't bring good shoes since the beginning of the war and brought sandals were unfortunate. Most of their feet would freeze entirely and they sometimes had to break their toes off. Elie also didn’t want to trade his shoes because they where the last thing he had. He meant that those shoes were the last thing he had from his house, something that was actually his. Elie was smart for some time, for not trading his shoes for food but the horrible thing was that his shoes where actually taken away. The Nazis took his shoes and changed them for another pair of shoes. Poor Elie, he could have traded his shoes for another pair of shoes and for a bigger ration of food. Like he didn’t trade his shoes he made a bad decision. He didn’t think anyone was going to take his shoes away but he was wrong. Most of the decisions you made in the camps where live or die decisions. If before the war you had worn good shoes before leaving your house it would have helped you have more life time because you wouldn’t freeze to death.
I believe that Ellie wanted to hold on to his shoes, because they were the only personal belongings he had left. Think about it, everything you ever had has been taken away from you; the last thing you want is the only reminder of what used to be, to get taken away. You want to hold on to whatever you have left, for memories sake. Another reason is because they are yours. I would not want something that is rightfully mine to be taken away. The ironic thing is that in the end Elie's shoes are taken from him, but with no benefits. Before he was offered some more food if he gave up his shoes, but he said no to this proposal. But the next thing is his shoes are taken. They both end with his shoes being taken but the offer would have been a better choice.-Nancy Joykutty
I agree with Nancy. I believe Elie was holding on to the shoes, even after he is offered food, in order to keep at least one form of a personal belonging with him. The other prisoners did not have shoes like his, so I believe he may have also been holding on to them as a means to set himself apart from them. It was as if giving them away would automatically make him even more like all of the others there. He is making a desperate attempt to keep as much of his own belongings as he can, not to be stingy, but I believe because he is realizing just how much things are changing. The situation is becoming one in which everyone must be capable of taking care of themselves.- Katie :)
Elie refused to give up his shoes because that was all he really had that connected him back to the past. If he gave up his shoes then he would have given up that vital connection to hope. It was ironic that he wouldn't give up his shoes to have his father at his side but later, those same shoes were taken anyways for nothing at all. Even though it meant more to him, I believed that picking the shoes over his father was very uncaring. He should have been more concerned about his father's whereabouts and safety than of the shoes on his feet.
I agree with Julieth. It was all he had left that could really keep him close to his mother, sisters, and home. However, if I were given the chance to stay with my father and have extra rations of food I would take it. Honestly, I think he was being very selfish here. Since he said no to the guard he ended up taking them anyway. He knew that they were going to be taken away and he could have gotten something out of it. Instead he had to care more for himself than his father and get nothing out of it.
What I think is that Ellie wanted to keep his shoes for two reasons, first because the shoes were the only personal belonging that he had like Nancy and Katie say. Maybe because he love does shoes so much that he didn’t wanted to give it up. Like Nancy say everything has been taken from you the only thing you have are your shoes. If I was in Elies position I would give my shoes even do that was the only position I remain with, for a piace of bread or water I would do it. The ironic thing is that in the end Elie's shoes were taken from him, without something for exchange.