"Here or elsewhere-what difference did it make? To die today or tomorrow, or later? The night was long, dark, and never ending." (pg.93_Elie). On the surface, the meaning of this quote refers to a period of time. The period of time beginning at the setting of the sun. In this book, there is a deeper meaning to the word. The darkness of the night represents the darkness and gloom of the souls being tormented, their ever growing realization of impending death, the loss of the human spirit, and the loss of love.
The people in this story knew that they were most likely doomed to death. Either from starvation, exhaustion, disease, or at the hands of an SS officer. "In every stiffened corpse I saw myself" (Pg.84_Elie). This is certainly a situation which set despair over all people who were living in this endless night, forever on the brink of life and death, sometimes not even knowing which was which, "I shall always remember that smile. From which world did it come?" (pg.95_Elie). It was the kind of torture that kills a person from the outside in. First attacking the body, until you look like the living dead, and then the soul, until you become the living dead. .
Through his whole experience Elie fought against the deadening of his soul. Despite the fact that he lived in darkness, his love and care for his father kept his soul alive. At times he began to question this bond. He considered weather or not he would be better off without his father, but deep down he knew that his father's love was his life raft in the sea of darkness. During his father's last days he became more dependent on Elie than ever. Unlike many of the other sons with dying parent Elie did not desert his father. Instead he became more devoted, and this helped him forget his own struggles. I believed that it was this devotion that helped him live through the endless night. This night, the one that had threatened to take Elie's spirit, was not able to claim him until the death of his father.