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What does the last line at the end of the book, Night, "a corpse gazed back at me" mean?

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ilovegizmo123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2011 at 7:40 AM via web

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What does the last line at the end of the book, Night, "a corpse gazed back at me" mean?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM (Answer #1)

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The last lines of the Elie Wiesel's novel, Night, is as follows:

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.

Here, Eliezer Wiesel is ending his recollection of his time as a prisoner and survivor of the Holocaust. The last lines of the text leave the reader with a real and horrifying image of a survivor's inner self.

Wiesel is stating that while he was able to survive the concentration camps he was held prisoner in, he fails to see himself as truly alive. The experiences he faced, the horrors he witnessed, and the terrors he lived killed him on the inside. Even though he survived physically, he no longer recognizes himself. His soul and body have separated.

This idea is compounded by allotting a separate being to the image in the mirror. Wiesel is no longer whole. But, hope can be found (even as dark as the passage is). Wiesel recognizes that his "being" as part of the camps is dead. Wiesel is left with the fact that he did survive, while badly battered and broken.

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