My Name is Asher Lev
I Comes Before “U” in the Alphabet and in Happiness Throughout life, one faces many responsibilities that could be taken upon; furthermore, sometimes one responsibility conflicts with another, causing a person to struggle to find which responsibility is more important in his life. In addition, for one to live his life in a manner that would make others content would be foolish, because this person would feel unsatisfied with his accomplishments and no one else would be completely pleased; It is impossible to make others completely happy, due to the fact that everyone would want and expect different things from this person.
.. Asher, are you drawing pretty things? Are you drawing sweet, pretty things? ...You should make the world pretty, Asher. Make it sweet and pretty. It’s nice to live in a pretty world” (Potok, p.17-18). By speaking to Asher about art when she is so sick and has other things on her mind shows him that she enjoys his art and that it is important.
Although his mother takes pleasure from happiness Asher gets by being an artist, his father is very against it. Asher’s father and mother having conflicting expectations of Asher, it is already impossible to make them both completely satisfied at the same time. Asher’s father wants him to stop drawing completely by constantly calling art “foolish” and “from the sitra achra”. In a discussion about art between Asher and his father, his father says, “Asher, you have a gift. I don’t know if it is from the Ribbono Shel Olom or from the Other side. If it is from the Other side, then it is foolishness, dangerous foolishness, for it will take you away from Torah and from your people and lead you to think only of yourself”(109). In addition to talking to him, his father talks to the Rebbe and Asher’s teachers to also influence him towards Torah and away from art. Therefore Asher is getting mixed feeling from the two closest people to him, leaving him no other choice but to pursue after his dreams.
On his path of becoming an artists, Asher learns valuable lessons from Jacob Kahn, which leads him contradict both his parents. In order for Asher to become the best artist he can, he must forget about everyone else and draw from his heart. Jacob Kahn makes him realizes this when he says, “As an artist you are responsible to Jews?... Listen to me, Asher Lev....