What can Elie never forget in "Night" and why?

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 3 Elie talks at length about how he will never forget the first night in that camp and the various gruesome images that will be burned into his memory forever.

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.

It is at this point that night takes on a new meaning for his life. Night is no longer a place that is a haven for him, it becomes in Chapter 3 his hell and suffering.

"Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky."

It is this first night that Elie and the other Jews of Sighet realize that Mrs. Schachter's rants and visions were not those of a crazy woman, but those of a woman who had a premonition of what they would endure. Elie can't forget these things because they changed who he was, the images were too powerful and the experiences that followed too vivid and unbelievable to ever be forgotten. The night and the flames signified the death of Elie the faithful, religiously inquisitive child.

"Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence . . .Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes."