Describe Elie as the story begin (12 years old). What are some things that change him? How was he different at the end  of the story?

Expert Answers
clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the book Elie is a unique boy who is hungry for his religion. He desires to learn everything and his goal in life is to be a master of Kabbalah. He spends is time deep in study, even his free time. He seeks the truth and is a very philosophical young man.

The whole experience in the concentration camp during WWII changes him. He loses his innocence, his family, and his faith inside the camps because he cannot understand why God would allow such awful and horrific things to happen to people who have devoted their lives to Him.

At the end of the book Elie is grown, yet he is not very old. The experience has aged him considerably beyond his years. He spent the remainder of his life studying human nature and basic human rights and informing people about his experiences and those of others he knew with the hope that nothing like the Holocaust of WWII would ever happen again. While some of his life was still devoted to religious study- the question still remains of whether he ever found his faith again after his experience.

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