Corpse – Personal response to Night

I don’t know who I am.

When I was younger I was all-knowing in the aspects of myself. Any and every question was always met with a distinct, to the point answer. I always knew. Until I didn’t. It happened slowly, but yet so quick. My self-identity went from distinct, to uncertain. I no longer knew who I was, when I looked in the mirror I could no longer recognize the person who stared back at me. 

Throughout most of the novel night, I was apathetic towards Elie. But when chapter 9 came, Elie’s words resonated within me, “From the depths of the mirror, a corpse was contemplating me.” (115). I, too, see a corpse. Sometimes I look at myself for just a fraction of a second too long and the face that stares back at me haunts me like a nightmare. My own reflection scares me.

It feels like I’m stuck. Suspended. Ropes of the versions of myself I could have become from each potential life path digging into my wrists and ankles. My throat, my elbows, my waist. I am bound at each and every place I can be bound. But there is no yank, nor pull; I am simply stuck, no room for control. All around me it is dark. I try to think of who I am, but I am met with nothing. I feel forced, my brain doesn’t want to move but my muscles know I have to. All I want is relief. All I want is sense. All I want is for the numbness and cold to end. When did I morph from my all-knowing identity to this hollowness? There is no clear losing. I didn’t notice it happening until it already happened. I went from knowing who I was to being stuck in my mind’s crossfires. Back when I knew who I was, my life was music. It was something that once controlled my identity. I was always listening to something, whether it was a song I already knew I liked, a radio station I favoured, or an album I adored. I lived for finding new songs and artists to listen to and would immediately note them down. My life was surrounded by music. But now my life is silent. I have no motivation to listen attentively to music the way I once did. I don’t pay attention to the lyrics anymore, furthermore, I can’t be bothered to look to find the magical sounding little beats cleverly weaved into the song. I am numb. When I look at a music artist I once worshiped there is nothing but a blank stare. I have lost the connection I once had with music and I don’t know why. I know that I love music and I know why I love it but I struggle to feel the ethereal euphoria it once gave me. 

However, my personal experience is different than Elie’s; Elie experienced tremendous horrors. He was stripped of his identity, beliefs, and, in ways, his own thoughts. Piece by piece, he was fading. Elie started the book when he was passionate about his faith. He didn’t quite know why he believed, but he believed. Elie was determined to learn even when his father forbade him from learning; he sought out Moishe the beadle to mentor him and nurture his journey in faith. Whereas, the pipel’s execution was Elie’s last straw. Elie watched as the child struggled, too light for his own body weight to kill him so he died a slow and brutally painful death. Elie was left questioning existence. No longer was he the boy who believed in faith, because why would a god he was supposed to treasure condemn him to such a tragic end? As for me, no longer was I the girl who loved music, but why was I not?

I just want to know who I am again.



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3 thoughts on “Corpse – Personal response to Night

  1. Dear Michelle,

    WOW!! First off, I just want to say I absolutely and utterly love this piece of writing you have so beautifully crafted. I can feel all the emotion just pouring out of the words and phrases that are so gently placed. When I first saw your post, I was so intrigued to see how you connected yourself to a corpse and built such a powerful response off that single word. I am happy to say that it exceeded all of my expectations because I just really enjoyed reading every sentence and absorbing its meaning. In fact, I must have read this piece at least five times because every time I read it, I found another different element that made me enjoy it even more. All I can say is that you are such a gifted writer, and I am so very excited to read more of your immensely powerful and thoughtful writing.

    One of the many things I liked about your post was the connectivity and how the writing was so pure and smooth. As a reader, I appreciated how your ideas merged together which allowed no room for misunderstanding or confusion (this goes along with the contrast of simplicity of the stylistic writing choices against the depth of your idea). This allowed every aspect and idea of your post to come full-circle with the introductory and concluding statement. “I don’t know who I am.” and “I just want to know who I am again.” – I loved how you stayed consistent to the idea of losing yourself and expressed it throughout the entire post. I felt as if your ideas and writing was much more impactful because you referred back to your introductory sentence to wrap up your essay and leave the reader satisfied, but also wishing for more.

    As for improvements, here is really nothing I can say– other than a few punctuation changes that I believe would have enhanced the flow that much more. For example, I believe the sentence- “Ropes of the versions of myself I could have become from each potential life path digging into my wrists and ankles.” was a little confusing and could have been enhanced with punctuation because I thought it was still a little wordy. Nonetheless, this sentence was vastly effective and I enjoyed the metaphor that emerged from “digging into my ankles and wrists” and “ropes of the version of myself.”

    Overall, this post was very refreshing and I appreciate your ability to seamlessly string together such an excellent and emotional piece that everyone and anyone can relate to. I also LOVED the connection with music, and how you employed it to fit perfectly within the mould of the theme of identity.

    All I can say is that I am beyond excited to read more of your work, and hopefully get to know you more next year.


  2. Michelle,

    I simply loved your post here in its entirety. From your stylistic flow to the word choice, everything in this piece came together in harmony. Your honesty, mixed with your emotions presented here, added life to your writing here and I live for it. Just like Amanat, I found myself reading your writing over and over again as I couldn’t seem to get enough of it.

    The connection you made between Elie and yourself was done remarkably well. With that, I found myself fully immersed within your experience as you wrote this piece in a way in which any reader would be able to connect and understand your personal events. The line “When did I morph from my all-knowing identity to this hollowness?” struck me as I felt such strong emotion when I first read it.

    When it comes to improving, I struggled to find anything that struck me as odd. However, I feel as though you could have added more quotes from “Night” to reinforce the connection of the similar impact both of you faced as a result of different events. But who am I to say that, as the one quote you used managed to generate such an amazing piece of text.

    The writing that I have read from you has never failed to impress me. With all of the uncertainty occurring in the world, I certainly look forward to being able to read more writing from you.


  3. Dear Amanat and Kaydence,

    Firstly, thank you so much for putting the time and effort into reading and commenting on my blog I really appreciate it.

    Amanat, the comment you have written for me here is so incredibly touching. To have someone tell you they read your work multiple times because they loved it so much is very heartwarming. That sentence is the bane of my existence haha. I worked relentlessly to try to weave some punctuation in there to make it less of a run on but nothing I tried seemed to fit for me. I definitely agree that some punctuation fixes could’ve improved the flow much more, however. Thank you so much for your valuable input.

    Kaydence, your feedback always makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside :). I love the comment you’ve written for me here with such kind words. I 100% agree that more quotes could definitely enhance the quality of this piece. To have someone as talented and skilled as you compliment my work is such a compliment. Thank you.



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