What causes Elie Wiesel's loss of innocence in Night?

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Elie's experiences in the concentration camp lead to his loss of innocence. In fact, much of this book is centered on the theme of loss of innocence and disillusionment.

Elie witnesses and experiences horrors beyond imagination even before he arrives at Auschwitz. While still in Sighet, Elie and many of his neighbors still do not think that the Germans are capable of the atrocities that he soon experiences. Elie and the others still retain a certain naïve innocence. This quickly evaporates in cattle cars. When Mrs. Schächter is badly beaten by the others on the train in chapter 2, the first of Elie's innocence slips away.

Things get even worse once Elie arrives in the camp. In chapter 3, Elie witnesses small children being murdered by being thrown into a fiery pit. This likely spells the end of Elie's innocence. As he says to the reader after describing this horrific account, "Is it any wonder that ever since then, sleep tends to elude me?"

It is at about this time that Elie begins to have doubts about the existence of a just and merciful God. As the horrors of the Holocaust take over his life, Elie also loses his identity. He is no longer a teenager studying the Talmud. Now, he is merely someone trying to survive.

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