It is difficult to imagine how terrible is the pain that people who have survived Holocaust have in their hearts and soul. Some people decided to publicly share their experiences to let the world know that Nazism is a terrible ‘cancerous growth’ that should never happen in the history of humanity again. Among them is a famous writer, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, who shares his own soreness of being a victim of the Nazi regime, and surviving all the horrors of a stay in the Auschwitz and the Buchenwald concentration camps. In the following paper, his autobiographical opus Night will be addressed in terms of the realization of the theme of a broken personality in it. Overall, the evaluation of Wiesel’s vision, shown in Night, suggests that the final scene of the book, in which the main character sees his reflection in the form of a corps, is the author’s means to describe the harm that Eliezer had to experience.
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In Wiesel’s Night, the audience may see how the Nazi regime leaves its bad traces in the soul of the main character. The culmination of this process is shown in the final scene of the book:
One day I was able to get up, after gathering all my strength. I wanted to see myself in the mirror hanging on the opposite wall. I had not seen myself since the ghetto. 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 106).
This scene shows the consequences of all the sufferings that Eliezer had to go through. ‘A corpse’ is the only thing that is left for the main hero instead of his previous personality that used to be rich emotionally and spiritually. This means that Eliezer has become ‘invalid’ inside, and he lost his love for life, and eagerness to see the future. Besides, ‘a corps gazed’. This word combination has a hidden implication because the word gaze shows that Eliezer’s past will never leave him alone (Manseau 388).
The last scene of Night points that Eliezer’s soul is wounded which means that he lost a significant part of it, and acquired something new instead. The things that he lost were hope, faith, virtue, and religious zeal (COHLER 42). Thus, Eliezer lost everything that was significant for him before. Even his faith in God, that he used to value more than anything in the world, was lost: “My eyes had opened and I was alone, terribly alone in a world without God” (Wiesel 105).
Instead of his lost inner riches, Eliezer acquired new ‘contents’ for his soul that were despair, pain, distress, anguish, gloom, and virulence. After all the pains that he had to suffer, his faith in God was replaced with sarcasm. “Why should I bless His name? The Eternal, Lord of the Universe, the All-Powerful and Terrible, was silent. What had I to thank Him for”, said Eliezer eventually (Wiesel 107). By these words he identified that his heart was occupied with impiety.
As a final point, Wiesel’s Night shows the way an individual changes under the pressure of hardships. The final scene of the book, that depicts Eliezer’s inner world as ‘a corpse’, is the culmination of the ruining process in the main character’s soul.
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COHLER, BERTRAM J. “Life Writing In The Shadow Of The Shoah: Fathers And Sons In The Memoirs Of Elie Wiesel And Leon Weliczker Wells.” International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 7.1 (2010): 40-57. Print.
Manseau, Peter. “Revising Night.” Cross Currents 56.3 (2006): 387-389. Print.
Wiesel, Elie. Night. United States: Bantam Books, 1982. Print.