Wiesel's narrative power is based on the honest, direct way he describes his feelings and reactions: in Night, he narrates the events with total objectivity but still does so emotionally. In his first view of the crematoria he states,
A truck drew close and unloaded its hold: small children. Babies! Yes, I did see this with my own eyes . . . children thrown into the flames. (Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me?) [32 trans. Marion Wiesel].
The parenthetical reflection is a kind of afterthought, but one can imagine other authors refraining from expressing this feeling so directly. That Wiesel does state it without hesitation strengthens the narrative. Similarly, on the next page,
Someone began to recite Kaddish, the prayer for the dead. I don't know whether, during the history of the Jewish people, men have ever before recited Kaddish for themselves. . . . For the first time I felt anger rising within me. Why should I sanctify His name? The Almighty, the eternal and terrible Master of the Universe, chose to be silent. What was there to thank Him for?
These are questions the Jews have asked not only since the Holocaust, but also through all the earlier persecutions in history. But by repeating these questions, Wiesel reinforces the point that they are unanswerable. In Night, though it was written when he was an adult, he recaptures the feelings he had as a teenager when the events took place. There is a kind of paradoxical quality in the narration in that there is an expression of innocence and shock at what he sees, but this feeling is simultaneously coupled with a matter-of-fact, sometimes even unemotional, quality that shows how the victims are also apathetic; they accept torture and death as their inevitable fate. At the close of the story, Wiesel is not surprised at all by his image in the mirror. But the still jarring effect of it upon his psyche, his inner self, is made clear in the final sentence:
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me. The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.