Eliezer’s Lost Childhood and the Image in the Mirror Essay
A brief overview of Elie Wiesel’s Night
First of all, I would like to point out that the work Night written by Elie Wiesel is of great importance. The events described in the book are related to the Second World War and the genocide of European Jews.
Lorraine Maynard thinks that the work Night is considered to be the so-called testing of faith. He states that “Elie Wiesel‘s haunting narrative Night is an account of the horrors of the Holocaust” (Maynard 1).
The thesis statement
Generally, there are a lot of contradictions concerning Elie Wiesel’s Night. One of the key issues, which is discussed in the work, is people’s belief about the presence of God. The author of the book presents his hero in two ways: on the one hand, he depicts the boy, who is full of hopes and expectations; on the other hand, he shows the boy whose soul is destroyed with horrific experience.
Some critical evaluations of the work
The most interesting point is that there are two Eliezers in the book. On the one hand, the readers are familiar with an innocent child; on the other hand, they see the hero, who is destroyed with his horrific experience. The second Eliezer is not a child anymore. It is difficult to believe that the boy was changed so much. Looking at the new image of the main hero the author provides us with, we understand that Eliezer’s viewpoints have been altered.
As far as the boy has no parents, nobody can state that he is somebody’s child. The horrors the boy experiences made him different. “The student of the Talmud, the child that I was, had been consumed in the flames. There remained only a shape that looked like me. A dark flame had entered into my soul and devoured it” (Wiesel 34). His character became tough; he became too hard on people. Eliezer was transformed from the boy into a camp survivor. The second Eliezer won’t accept another side of his soul anymore.
Jennifer Flynn says that Naomi Seidman, “professor of Jewish Culture at Berkeley College’s Graduate Theological Union ignores critical aspects of the autobiographical genre and Wiesel’s transformation of that form that valuably complicate an understanding of Night” (1). I would like to point out that such ignorance can be explained by the fact that Seidman mostly supports word choice. She “neglects features of structure such as the inclusion of novelistic devices that shed light on Wiesel’s motives” (Flynn 2).
Robert E. Douglas, Jr. (1995) says that “anyone who comes in contact with these horrors will be forever shaken in his present faith” (1). According to the popular website Usf.edu (2005) the main hero “finally despairs of both God and humanity, yet juxtaposed against the atrocities is the story of his enduring relationship with his father” (1). “I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice” (Wiesel 42).
Death and faith are the central issues in the work. Thus, Eliezer’s faith died, but his new nature was born: new behavior, new attitudes, new thoughts. In other words, Eliezer got new soul.
The conclusion: new Elie
“As an end to the camp, Elie finally took a look at himself in the mirror, and what he saw shocked him; he saw an almost lifeless corpse staring back at him” (Ccsd.edu 1). In other words, Eliezer realized whom he was transformed into. He understood the consequences of horrible events he experienced.
Usually, people have no time to evaluate some changes, which occur in their life. However, when they start to analyze their life, it becomes obvious, what losses they suffered. “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” (Wiesel 109).
Ccsd.edu. From the Depths of the Mirror a Corpse Gazed Back at Me, 2011. Web.
Douglas, Robert. Elie Wiesel’s Relationship with God, 1995. Web.
Flynn, Jennifer. Reshaping the Autobiographical Self: Elie Wiesel’s Night. Web.
Maynard, Lorraine. “From Whence the Rivers Come, Thither Their Return Again”: The Testing of Faith in Elie Wiesel’s Night. Web.
Usf.edu. Survivor Testimony and Literature, 2005. Web.
Wiesel, Elie. Night, 1982. Web.
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