In Night, Elie Wiesel goes through a journey as he and his fellow Jews are deported to the concentration camp in Auschwitz. There, for the first time in his life, he is tested with his beliefs as he encounters and witnesses acts of barbarity. Through this, Elie discovers that atrocities and cruel treatment can turn decent people into brutes. Unfortunately, Elie is one of those people – he does not escape this fate. Aroused from his distorted faith in God, Elie starts to develop a cruel brute’s mindset. When he parts with his mother and sisters at Auschwitz, Elie states that “For the first time, I felt revolt rise up in me. Why should I bless His name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank Him for? “(31) At this point, a peak of brute firstly appears as he starts to lose faith in God and is feeling hopeless. Not long after, he also says that “The night was gone. The morning star was shining in the sky. I too had become a completely different person.
The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it.”(34) In this quote from Night, Wiesel explains that after witnessing innocent lives of his people being consumed by the flames in the crematorium, he no longer felt a reason to practice the beliefs taught in the Talmud. He abandons his religion and is left with nothing, but an empty soul. Along with the dead bodies, the flames also consume the faith and hope he once held. Not only does he lose his faith through this journey, but his father as well. “I did not weep, and it pained me that I could not weep. But I had no more tears. And, in the depths of my being, in the recesses of my weakened conscience, could I have searched it, I might perhaps have found something like- free at last!”(106) Elie explains that although he spent his entire time at concentration camp with his father, he believes his father was starting to become a burden. After being so deprived, he is now filled with joy that he no longer has to share his rations and look after his father.
Elie loses his sense of moral. A few weeks later, American forces liberate the camp. Elie awakes in the hospital and finds a mirror across the room: “From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.”(115) In this quote, he does not refer to himself as a child, human, or even an animal, but a corpse. Using the corpse as symbolism, the corpse represemts Elie’s loss of faith, innocence, morals, and makind during the Holocaust. He is saying that his experiences in the Holocaust have ultimately killed his soul as he compares his stare to the gaze of a corpse. In essence, I believe that Elie Wiesel could not escape his fate. From a boy who studied the Talmud everyday, by the end of the story, that boy is no longer there. He is replaced with nothing, but an empty soul.
Courtney from Study Moose
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