Chaim Potok's My Name Is Asher Lev Novel Analysis

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  • Topic: Religion, Art, The Gift of Asher Lev
  • Pages : 3 (1098 words )
  • Download(s) : 312
  • Published : April 22, 2013
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Chaim Potok's Asher Lev is a dual being trapped inside a little boy. On one side there is the family's beliefs, the religious traditions and his great ancestor role-model, who Asher is expected to take after, if not surpass. On the other, there is art encompassing the artist's emotions and portraying them in form more beautiful than anything else Asher has access to. These sides clash almost throughout "My Name is Asher Lev", but even though those close to him teach, reinforce and often force religion and traditions on to him, art eventually prevails. Asher does not make the inevitable choice alone and even then there is no single choice to make. Instead, he squirms around the issue until his personality is fully formed with the help of the people around him, specifically, his mother and father, his mentor Jacob Kahn. The personality that he does form seems to be the best of both worlds in a world where dualism rules all. The first agent of change in Asher was his mother. Throughout the novel, she did her best to stay between her husband and her son, but still enforce Asher's abilities. If not for her interest and love towards Asher's drawings as well as their trips to the museum and her buying most of the art supplies, Asher would not have had the support he needed to go on instead of giving in to his heritage. Not only that, but Rivkeh was also Asher's muse. She was often the focus of most of his artwork, even being the centerpiece in his (for now) magnum opus - the two paintings of the crucifixion. In addition, she also gave Asher something to reach for: "You should make the world pretty, Asher" (Potok, 30), because at that time, Asher's drawings were the only beauty Rivkeh saw in life. Possibly the most obvious push for Asher was Jacob Kahn. Not only an art mentor, Kahn also shared his philosophy and views of religion. However, Asher took only the techniques to heart. He understood and acknowledged Kahn's viewpoint, but his silence during most of their...
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