In chapter 4 of Night, what does the prisoner who goes for the soup in the cauldrons die of?They say that they jumped at the explosion. Was it the sound of his yell they are referring to, or a...

In chapter 4 of Night, what does the prisoner who goes for the soup in the cauldrons die of?

They say that they jumped at the explosion. Was it the sound of his yell they are referring to, or a bomb, or a gun shot? They say after that that they heard the planes coming, which means they weren't there yet, so it couldn't have been a bomb, right? And all the SS officers were in the shelters, so it couldn't have been a gun shot, right? Was the soup poisoned? It says that "he writhed for a few seconds and then moved no more." I'd say you'd writhe if you were feeling poison course through you. It is unclear and my students are asking me. What say you?

Expert Answers
clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"We jumped at the sound of the shot. Falling to the ground, his face stained by the soup, the man writhed a few second at the base of the cauldron, and then he was still. That was when we began to hear the planes."

It was not a bomb because as you said it was not until after he died that the planes arrived. Remember that he drew a lot of attention to himself when he was had pulled himself up to the lip of the cauldron and was staring at his "ghostly reflection" and then he screamed, "a death rattle as I had never heard before". His scream alerted the SS and they shot him on the spot. The SS did take refuge, but I imagine when they heard him scream they took haste and punished him on the spot. Remember that while the SS were in the shelters they were also given orders to "shoot anyone found outside his block". Perhaps a few stayed behind to act as guards or the shelters were close enough. The writhing could have been from the location of the shot, but the soup most certainly was not poisoned since it was later returned to the kitchens and probably served for the evening meal.