By aheinz57, Updated
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“I no longer care to live. I am alone. But I wanted to come back to warn you. Only no one is listening to me…”
"Our nerves had reached a breaking point... It was as though madness had infected us all... A few young men... bound and gagged her."
"Eight words spoken quietly, indifferently, without emotion. Eight short, simple words. Yet that was the moment when I parted from my mother."
Men to the left! Women to the right!
Moishe's warning is the first time Elie realizes the Nazis may finally reach Sighet. For the first time, he is scared and worried about what this could mean for him and his family. It is his first glimpse of what is to come.
Elie still has his sense of humanity, his sense that beating a crazy lady is wrong. But, he and the others cannot take it anymore or they will go insane themselves. He faces the reality that it must be done.
Though still unaware of everything the Holocaust will hold for him, Elie's family has been torn apart. From this point on, his life will never be the same and it is evident in his character. The loss of his mother changes him.
As they march from one camp to the next, Elie wishes he could get rid of his body, just leave it behind. He no longer sees his body as part of himself and wants to get rid of the burden it brings. He wants the pain to end.
"I was dragging this emaciated body that was still such a weight. If only I could have shed it! Though I tried to put it out of my mind, I couldn’t help thinking that there were two of us: my body and I. And I hated that body."
The extreme situation that Elie is enduring has stripped him of his humanity and feelings of family. For Elie, it is horrifying but freeing to at last lose the burden of keeping his father alive. Elie is now free to think only of himself and his own survival.
"But I had no more tears. And, in the depths of my being, in the recesses of my weakened conscience, could I have searched it, I might perhaps have found something like-free at last!"
Elie may have been liberated physically, but the presence of death and the horrors Eliezer experienced will remain with him for the rest of his life.
"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."
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