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Eli Wiesel's book, Night, does not have chapter names. When referring to the segments of the book, we speak of them as "sections."
In section eight, Eli's father is becoming deathly ill, sometimes not recognizing his son. After being on the move, his father lies down to rest. Eli tries to get him to move—the bodies next to him are all dead.
"Father!" I screamed. "Father! Get up from here! Immediately! You're killing yourself..."
..."Don't shout, son...Take pity on your old father...Leave me to rest here...Just for a bit, I'm so tired...at the end of my strength..."
He had become like a child, weak, timid, vulnerable.
"Father," I said. "You can't stay here."
I showed him the corpses all around him...
"I can see them, son...Let them sleep. It's so long since they closed their eyes...They are exhausted..."
His voice was tender.
...For a long time this argument went on. I felt that I was not arguing with him, but with death itself, with the death that he had already chosen.
Taking care of his father has become frustrating because there is nothing Eli can do. He holds tightly to his father, not wanting to lose him. In a lucid moment Eli's father tells where he has hidden the family's gold, and Eli reminds him that they will return home together, but his father continues to fail.
Eli does not want to be like other sons who have deserted their fathers, but keeping a watch out for his dad and worrying for him is taking its toll. His father has dysentery, not uncommon for the conditions in which they live. Eli tries to get a doctor to help his father, but no one will listen. The head of the block advises Eli that there is nothing to be done for his father now. He tells him to save his rations for himself so that he might stay alive. Knowing the truth of these words does not change Eli's mind.
One night his father is asleep below him; the next morning he is gone, taken to the crematory. Unable to provide a service for his father or candles and prayers, Eli cannot even cry. He can only—with great guilt—feel perhaps a sense of relief—"free at last!"
The last section is nine, and it is in this section that things change dramatically for Eli. Transferred to the children's block as the front moved closer, Eli notes that after his father's death...
...nothing could touch me any more.
...I had but one desire—to eat...From time to time I would dream of a drop of soup, of an extra ration of soup...
Things in the camp are changing. Role call is delayed for the very first time. Plans are made to assemble the remaining twenty-thousand inmates at Buchenwald, but fall through. The resistance has not deserted those still in the camps. Finally they launch an attack: the SS runs off.
About six o'clock in the evening, the first American tank stood at the gates of Buchenwald.
The men had not eaten in six days, so their only thought is of food. Broken, they do not think of family members or revenge, only of food. Several days later, while others leave the camp for various reasons, Eli becomes ill with food poisoning, almost dying. When he is finally able to move, he looks in a mirror, writing these haunting words:
From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me.
The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.
These last two sections are pivotal in that Eli loses his battle to save his father, and he is liberated at last. The eyes staring at him from the mirror are a part of him now.
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