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 "the soup tasted excellent that evening," yet after the pipel was hanged, "the soup...

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mina0421 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:48 PM via web

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 "the soup tasted excellent that evening," yet after the pipel was hanged, "the soup tasted of corpses."

what does the author mean when he says after the handing of the youth from Warsaw that  "the soup tasted excellent that evening," yet after the pipel was hanged, "the soup tasted of corpses."

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amerie | College Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM (Answer #1)

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Elie was influenced by everything he saw.  The reason Night is such a powerful memoir is because the author takes his personal experiences and shares them through brutally vivid imagery.  Watching people die would never become "normal," but after months of exposure to the horrors of the Nazi prison camps, it is understandable that prisoners learned to sort of look the other way from death.  To fixate on death and the dead and dying would be to become paralyzed by the absurdity and pain and violence.  There would be no reason to live - no hope.  When Elie sees the young boy hanged, he literally watches the life slowly leak out of him.  Because the boy is so small, his body weight doesn't drag him down quickly in death.  He hovers, struggles, and dies slowly.  On top of that scene, Elie turns the description of the boy into something like an angel.  He is innocence incarnate - a symbol of all the squandered and wasted potential being consumed by both the hatred and apathy of the Nazi army.  Because Elie can never remove the image of that beautiful young boy dying at the end of the rope, his senses are clouded with the stench and taste of death.  Thus ... the soup tastes like corpses, because his senses are overpowered on every level.

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