"My Name is Asher Lev" Analytical Essay by ZLK

"My Name is Asher Lev"
An examination of Chaim Potok's novel, "My Name is Asher Lev."
# 2937 | 3,165 words | 6 sources | 2001 | US
Published on Feb 15, 2003 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This term paper focuses on Chaim Potok's work My Name is Asher Lev. The protagonist of the novel, Asher Lev, is a young orthodox Jewish boy who has dreams of becoming an artist. A major conflict brews, as two extremes collide, the religious "old" world and the secular "new" world. This paper argues that "Asher Lev" shows how the two worlds can only coexist in fiction, but not in their truest states.

From the Paper:

"In "Asher Lev," Potok presents the major argument between traditional Jewish beliefs and secular thought, more specifically, the debate over one's role as an individual versus one's role as a member of the community. The protagonist, Asher Lev, a young aspiring artist caught between the two very different worlds of art and Judaism, struggles to show others the possibility of a coexistence between the two. Potok writes "Asher Lev" as a kunstlerroman, "the development of the artist from childhood until his artistic maturity" (Birk 1). Through depicting the reactions of Asher's family and community to his art both before and after his final paintings, Brooklyn Crucifixion I and II, he suggests that one cannot fully immerse oneself in the secular world while still remaining a part of a traditional Jewish society."

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