What does Eliezer see in the mirror at the end of Night? Explain how his reflected image is symbolic of his inner self. What is meant by the very last line of the book?

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mlsldy3's profile pic

mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Elie Weisel's Night leaves us with many questions. It makes us wonder how he was able to survive and how he was able to overcome. Their are more questions than answers, but I think that is a good thing. When he makes the last statement in the book Elie makes us realize that hope is still alive.

"From the depths of the mirror, a corpse glazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me."

The unimaginable horrors that Elie witnessed while being held at the camps killed a part of him. Yes, he survived, but the innocent young boy he was was killed along with the others. His spirit had been stomped on, yet there is still a part of Elie that is still there, buried deep inside. No, he will never be the same. All the horrible and tragic things he saw have stayed with him always.

During his time in the camps Elie lost his faith in God and in humanity, yet as the years go by, we know that Elie rediscovers his faith and that there is true compassion in this world. Elie saw the real evil that some people have in their hearts, yet he learns that people are good. He will always carry with him the memories of what he saw and what happened to him. He swore never to forget, and with this book we will never forget, either. 

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

As Elie looks in the mirror after not only his long stint in the camps, he sees a corpse with hollow eyes staring back at him.  Throughout the novel, Wiesel uses characters' eyes as a motif, symbolizing not just one's soul but also the changes in faith endured by those individuals (In Chapter 2, see Elie's change in description of Moche the Beadle's eyes after he escapes from the Nazis.).  Therefore, the significance of how he views himself at the memoir's end, a view that "has never left" him, demonstrates that he, like the other personalities in the book, has experienced a permanent change.  He died emotionally in the camp and, more importantly, lost his faith.  Thus, the corpse represents the death of his faith and ability to emote.

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