Asher Lev and The Window
Looking Beyond the Glass Could humiliation and pain come from something as simple as a glass in a wooden frame? Throughout the novel, My Name Is Asher Lev by Chiam Potok, much of inner characters are revealed through the symbol of the window. The mother, the father, and Asher all face many struggles and the use of the window helps one to understand them. To begin with, the mother, Rivkeh, is shown a great deal by the window. Potok writes, “About an hour after supper, it began to snow heavily. My mother and I stood at the living-room window, watching for my father. ‘I hate this,’ my mother murmured, staring out the window” (79-80). This expresses the worry that she has for her husband, Aryeh, and his journey back home. For example, the
…show more content…
A little while later, Asher says, “I came out into the sunlight and walked the streets. Sometime during the walking, I saw myself in the window of a restaurant and stared indifferently at my face and realized my sidecurls were behind my ears” (264). This shows the transition that Asher has made into his new life, away from Hasidism and into his artistry. He is beginning to consider himself moving away from his Jewish roots and into his own life. Toward the end of the book, he tells his mother about one of his paintings that is in the gallery. He says, “Mama, it’s a crucifixion. I made our living-room window into a crucifixion and I put you on it to show the world my feelings about your waiting, your fears, your anguish” (355). This reveals how Asher is bothered by the troubles that his mother has had while waiting by the window. The window represents many different things about Asher, but the reader gains knowledge about his inner self through the use of the window. To conclude, the window is a major part of Chiam Potok’s My Name Is Asher Lev. It gives readers insight on characters’ thoughts and feeling of the world around them. Asher is torn between two worlds, the mother between her husband and her son, and the father between his family and his religious duties. Without the common occurrence of the window, many inner outlooks would be unknown.
Potok, Chiam. My Name Is Asher Lev. New York: Anchor Books, 2003.