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What Does the Mirror Symbolize in Night?

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In Night, after a long residence in the Nazi concentration camp, Elie looks in the mirror. The reflection is horrifying. He sees an emaciated corpse with empty, dull eyes gazing back at him. Elie realizes that he died spiritually. The corpse represents his cracked faith in humanity and God. Moreover, at that moment, Elie realizes his inability to express any lively emotions.

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Night is a book by Elie Wiesel, which narrates the author’s personal sore experience undergone together with his father in concentration camps at Buchenwald and Auschwitz in 1944–1945, in the Holocaust’s climax. The central leitmotifs of the book are growing dislike of humanity and acute resentment against God. Elie does not understand the reason for God’s indifference. He cannot explain why God remains silent and inert despite all the atrocities. The wrath is especially manifesting when Elie’s father sinks to a pitiful and helpless state. From that time, Wiesel alone has to look after him in severe circumstances.

Mournful feelings and experiences are clearly reflected at the end of the story. Three days after the liberation from Buchenwald, Eliezer fell mortally sick with food poisoning. So, he had to spend several weeks in the hospital. After he recovered a little, having gathered all strength, he attempted to look at himself in the mirror. Suddenly, he saw an appalling picture. An exhausted corpse fixed his sunken, lifeless eyes on Eliezer. The reflection in the mirror testified of the prolonged unimaginable horrors faced in the camps. As the author indicates, “The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.”

The corpse in the mirror represents not only the physical decay of the body. It also reflects psychological decline. Elie lost his faith in people and God. He stopped believing in the existence of goodness, genuine human feelings, and kindness. His experience in the camps will always remain in the depth of his memory.

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1. IvyPanda. "What Does the Mirror Symbolize in Night?" September 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-does-the-mirror-symbolize-in-night/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "What Does the Mirror Symbolize in Night?" September 29, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-does-the-mirror-symbolize-in-night/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'What Does the Mirror Symbolize in Night'. 29 September.

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