by Elie Wiesel
Night Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
I was putting one foot in front of the other, like a machine. 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. (6.5)
As they march from one camp to the next, Eliezer wishes he could get rid of his body—just leave it behind. He separates the true "Eliezer" from his physical body.
I soon forgot him. I began to think of myself again. My foot was aching, I shivered with every step. Just a few more meters and it will be over. I’ll fall. A small red flame … A shot … Death enveloped me, it suffocated me. It stuck to me like glue. I felt I could touch it. The idea of dying, of ceasing to be, began to fascinate me. To no longer exist. To no longer feel the excruciating pain of my foot. To no longer feel anything, neither fatigue, nor cold, nothing. To break rank, to let myself slide to the side of the road … (6.17)
For Eliezer, death, the end of oneself and one’s identity, is seen as the end of his physical pain. His experience of life now is purely physical pain, and nothing more.
We received no food. We lived on snow; it took the place of bread. The days resembled the nights, and the nights left in our souls the dregs of their darkness. The train rolled slowly, often halted for a few hours, and continued. It never stopped snowing. We remained lying on the floor for days and nights, one on top of the other, never uttering a word. We were nothing but frozen bodies. Our eyes closed, we merely waited for the next stop, to unload our dead. (7.23)
Because of their cold and hunger—their basic physical needs—the prisoners are reduced to mere bodies.