Eye Motif in Night by Elie Wiesel

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The Soul’s Mirror Eyes have guided mankind throughout all history, whether they allowed us to foresee danger or helped us find our loved ones. They have granted us sight over what would otherwise be invisible to us. When looking at someone, one can tell how they are feeling by staring into his or her eyes. Our eyes never lie. Our eyes will often mirror our souls and display our true inner emotions. In Elie Wiesel’s autobiographical narrative, Night, he uses the eye motif to portray characters’ true souls. In some parts of the narrative, Night, Wiesel used eyes to display the hope and positive emotion in characters. In the beginning of the story, eyes were used as an indication of Moche the Beadle’s calmness in the following quote. “I loved his great, dreaming eyes, their gaze lost in the distance” (Wiesel 13). The beadle, like his eyes, is peaceful as if he were in a dream. He has no worries and his gaze flows into the distance. Later in the story, after Moche escapes Hungarian police, his joy and peacefulness had disappeared. “Moche had changed. There was no longer any joy in his eyes” (Wiesel 16). This quote shows how Moche is now void of happiness and joy. His eyes, which once held tranquility, now hold nothing. In the following quote, eyes show how the prisoners were suddenly full of hope of being rescued when the camp was bombed. “We filled our lungs with the fire- and smoke-laden air, and our eyes shone with hope” (Wiesel 67-68). At that moment, every prisoner in Buna was completely full of hope of rescue and disregarded the air full of smoke. While eyes showed people’s hope, it also showed their feelings and ambition. Wiesel used eyes to convey character’s true emotions and desires in his narrative. Franek shows his true desire when he sees Elie’s gold crown through his eyes a few days after Elie was whipped by Idek. “This sympathetic, intelligent youth was suddenly no longer the same person. His eyes gleamed with desire” (Wiesel 62). His eyes gleamed


Cited: Wiesel, Elie. Night. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1994.

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