My Name is Asher Lev

Journal 3

Chapter 3

I would have expected everybody to be rejoicing and finding happiness again after Stalin died. But no, they all look at the negative side of things. They say he should died thirty years ago and that itís not possible to bring back all the dead. They are very pessimistic and I donít understand why they canít be a little more optimistic. Isnít it better that he died now than in 30 years, and isnít it better that he killed this number of people instead of all that he could have killed if he had lived for 30 more years? Thereís no use crying over spilt milk. It already happened, and thereís nothing you can do about it.

Asher is afraid of Vienna and he really doesnít want to go. He doesnít want to make new friends and acclimated to another culture. He also doesnít want to learn to speak a new language, German. Considering Asherís age, it wonít be too difficult to pick up a foreign language. But most important, heís afraid of going to a place that doesnít accept Jews. Heís so used to his Jewish community and everyone in it, that he doesnít want to feel life out in a place where there arenít a lot of Jews.

At the end of the chapter, Asher draws a picture of a Stalin dead in his dead coffin surrounded by flowers. This picture represents how art is coming back into his life. In chapter two it says, ďthe gift lay buried.Ē Taking a critical stance, this is a foreshadowing and shows that this gift will come back. Most things that lay dead and buried will never come back, but his artistic abilities did. Maybe Stalin is parallel to this. He lays dead and buried like the picture portrays, but he can come back in spirit and haunt everybody. That could also be why the general attitude toward his death pessimistic.

In World Religions class, I learned that Shabbos was Saturday. And there were many things we werenít allowed to do because of the religious affiliation. Now we still canít buy alcohol on Sundays.