Explain the symbolism behind "the black flame" that Eliezer claims to have devoured his soul in Night.

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As Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical account of the Holocaust, Night, begins, Elie’s alter-ego, Eliezer, describes a character who will play an important role in the book’s and the narrator’s evolution from observant Jew to skeptic. Moishe the Beadle is an idiosyncratic figure in young Eliezer’s life, a religious figure of somewhat comic proportions. Eliezer himself is very religious and expresses an interest in studying the Talmud, the collection of Jewish laws and theological dictates that guided Jewish life in what can be called “Old Europe.”

Within the context of Wiesel’s discussion of religious life in the town of Sighet are considerations of the meaning of life and of the human soul. When Elie/Eliezer writes in Night that “my soul had been invaded—and devoured—by a black flame,” he is referring not only to the death of innocence, insofar as he is child suddenly and inexplicably thrust into the midst of the most horrendous violation of human rights in history, but...

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