“Night” by Elie Wiesel: Eliezer’s Lost Childhood and the Image in the Mirror

Sad circumstances in life… always leave deep wounds on people’s hearts and may change the entire personality of any individual. This is the very situation that has happened to Eliezer, the main protagonist of “Night” book by Elie Wiesel which represents the author himself. In the final scene, we learn about the extent to which his entire personality has been affected. Eliezer sees a corpse in the mirror instead of his reflection as a mark of his years of suffering making him sort of a dead body and a burnt person by all the hardships of fascism.

The book “Night” by Elie Wiesel has a very special and symbolic ending scene: the main character sees his reflection in the mirror, but what he sees is not actually a reflection of him, it is a dead corpse (Wiesel 101). This dead corpse he sees reminds him of those dead ones he saw at Auschwitz. This is understandable, but still for a man who has just been liberated and survived the Holocaust conquering a powerful machine created by fascists it is better to concentrate on positive things at this historical moment. It seems that by this final scene depicted in his book Wiesel strives to tell the readers that he thinks he did not deserve to continue living. After all the hardships and losses he went through it seems that he felt he had to have the fate of his family (Elie Wiesel – Biography par. 27).

The other idea behind his vision in the mirror is his new interpretation of his personality. “A corpse gazed back” in the mirror signifying the death of his former values and the birth of the new ones (Wiesel 101). This dead body “gazes” at him; this word choice suggests that it controls him, and has a strong influence on his new world perception. Such aspects of his personality as his devotion to God, religious zeal, and integrity have died. Instead of them, the new aspects are born including despair, pain, disappointment, and lack of faith. Eliezer’s entire personality has changed both in physical and spiritual ways. In the mirror, he only sees the mystified image of himself, not a real reflection that suggests the idea of his new outlook on what he is (Night by Elie Wiesel par. 34). Eliezer understands that he is not the person he used to be. Wiesel’s new personality, born at that moment, can be characterized with his words, “man’s moral worth is based on his existence, so existence is the only moral concern” (Wiesel 97).

All in all, Eliezer’s vision of his reflection which is depicted as a final scene of “Night” shows his new outlook on his personality. His values have changed as his faith is almost lost and he feels no motivation to live any further as the rest of his family are dead; this can be an explanation of why he sees himself as a corpse in the mirror.

Works Cited

. Nobelprize.org.

“Night by Elie Wiesel”. ASU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Web.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. United States: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.

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