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Wiesel walks us through step by step as he and his father get closer to the inferno. The scene opens dramatically with Elie watching as a cartload of babies is burned right before his eyes. He goes through denial, rebellion, suicidal thoughts, and a denial of God all in the few minutes and few steps that it takes to get closer to the fire. He listens as his father prayers the prayer of the dead. Amidst the description of his thoughts and feelings, Wiesel counts down from 15 steps to 2 steps right before he and his father are to enter the flames. In his thoughts, Elie prepares to meet "the Angel of Death". And then in the last moment he is 'saved' when he is directed to the barracks instead. The scene is a climactic one similar to what you might see in a movie where the timer on a bomb is ticking down even as the hero is trying to save the day. Most often the hero finds a way to stop the timer with just a second or two left. In Elie's situation, he has no control over the situation, and although his life is saved, he goes on to live the tortuous life of a Jew in a concentration camp.
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