“You shouldn’t hurt you father this way.”
“I don’t care.”
“Asher, please, you must not talk like that.”
“I don’t want to lose it again,” I said.
“What?” She stared at me.
“I don’t want to lose it again, Mama. I don’t care about anyone.”
When I first read that, I thought what is he talking about? Has he lost his mind? He’s not making any sense! Then I thought he’s making a lot of sense! He stopped drawing when his dad went back to work and when his mom started going back to school. They were both very happy doing what they loved to do, and Asher in a sense maybe stopped drawing for them. Now he’s saying he doesn’t care about anyone or anything but he’s not going to stop drawing. The thing he doesn’t want to lose is his love to draw. He’s whole again when he’s able to draw, and when he doesn’t have to keep his gift buried and dead. Asher starts seeing everything through an artist’s perspective again and Potok goes into extensive detail about exactly what he sees. He sees the wrinkles and notches and all the lines in his dad’s forehead. He’s even improving at an artist because of the portraits he draws of Yudel Krinsky and his mother.
Chapter four was the first chapter where Asher’s father gives any recognition of art being a worthwhile time consumer. It was after he sees the portrait of the mother and he tells Asher it’s really good and that he has talent. Then he does on and says that he hopes his talent doesn’t come from the Other Side, the evil side. I think the father is afraid that Asher’s talent will tear the family apart and bring evil and corruption into their lives.
Once Asher started drawing again at the end of chapter three, he hasn’t been able to stop. His mother asks how he feels but he’s so into drawing that he doesn’t even hear her. Or maybe he does hear her but doesn’t answer because his mother might not understand how he feels, whether it is gratification, contentment, happiness, or safety. Maybe he doesn’t even know.