1 Answer | Add Yours
This quote happens early on in the narrative. Eliezer and his family have just found out that the Ghetto will be liquidated and that they will be transported. It is at this point where the information passes through Eliezer's frame of reference with complete fear about what might happen. Since there is little in way of information, the questions about what is going to happen to the family, why they are being taken, what this means in terms of life/ death issues are all present at this point. The family wishes to know, "Where will they take us?" Since no one knows or is willing to say, the implications are wide ranging. When Eliezer speaks of "the shadows," he is referring to these thoughts as to what will happen to he and his family. The image of shadows entering and leaving helps to bring to light that the news hits Eliezer and his family and they are forced to react to it and carry on in the best way possible. In this case, they are to wake the neighbors and let them know that they are to take one suitcase of belongings and start the packing process. Yet, the thoughts linger. Part of what Wiesel creates in terms of the terror of the Holocaust is the lack of certainty. Why is this happening? What will happen to us? What are we to do? Where are we to go? These are the questions that awaken Eliezer from his deep sleep. The shadows that leave represents the work that needs to be done, but the fact that they still remain in his own mind is brought out with the idea of "every direction." Eliezer's thoughts wander into this realm, and as he looks to his father for guidance, no certainty can be given. This is going to be an idea that will present itself with increasingly force throughout the narrative.
We’ve answered 319,197 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question