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In Chapter 9 of "Night", Discuss Eliezer's closing image of himself, as he has not...

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maureen145 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 3, 2009 at 10:05 AM via web

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In Chapter 9 of "Night", Discuss Eliezer's closing image of himself, as he has not looked at himself in a mirror since deportation.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 3, 2009 at 10:24 AM (Answer #1)

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The closing lines of seeing the corpse stare back from the reflection in the mirror provides an image ripe for analysis.  The literal reading is to examine how much Eliezer has changed from the boy who started at Sighet to who he is now.  Certainly, there is massive physical change and emotional maturation from that point.  The "corpse" could be the old version of his life, the life before the Nazis, before Juliek, before seeing children hung and not being able to die for 30 minutes, before people were shot for a second cup of soup, before being beaten, before Dr. Mengele, before running along side his father, before Madame Schachter and Moshe the Beadle.  Before all of this, there was a boy.  That conception of self could be "the corpse" staring back at him.  Along these lines could be that "the corpse" staring back at him is the being that used to believe in God, truth, spiritual justice, art, loyalty, and bonds of love for all of these were extinguished along with the millions of others at Auschwitz and the other camps.  All that remains is that corpse in the mirror and its physical form,  A- 7113.  I have always felt that the corpse in the mirror is his father.  I have perceived that there is an unending guilt for his father given his absolute desire to survive and to merely live.  I detected an undercurrent of guilt about why he, Eliezer was "chosen" to live, and while his father died.  When I first read the book, I interpreted the "corpse in the mirror" as the physical version of his father's voice that called out his name as his last words.  I am not sure how valid of a read that is, but it is what struck me.  In the final analysis, given the fact that Wiesel publishes the book as a way to bring up the dialogue about The Holocaust, so that the world will "never forget," the corpse that stares back at Eliezer is symbolic of the millions of lives extinguished and represents his responsibility to them as someone who did live when so many others did not.

Such a read is concurrent with the themes eloquently articulated in the book.  One such idea was that when there is no social fraternity, a lack of bonds that link others, bad things can never be far behind.  Indeed, the Nazis were the embodiment of evil.  Yet, when members of their own community target and dismiss one another without supporting them in times of need, such as Moshe the Beadle or Madame Schachter or when boys abandon fathers, it is almost like a replication of evil, a duplication of the rupturing of bonds and connections.  When he stares back at the mirror, this might be what he sees:  The link with others, the connection to a social group that confirms that solidarity and suppot for one another is the only way out of the terror and pain of "night."

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bigpapi123456789 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 28, 2010 at 2:18 AM (Answer #2)

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he feels bad cause his dad has gone through everything with him and he hates to see it end like this

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hannahjmlee | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 29, 2010 at 8:44 AM (Answer #3)

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... un crayon et une fille parlent tu manger an public. il papa corrige par, un garcon. il por tu nager.

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