My Name Is Asher Lev

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Asher Lev Essay: Minor characters are central to our understanding of any text. Analyse their significance in My Name Is Asher Lev.

Central to our understanding of “My name is Asher Lev” by Chaim Potok, is the dynamics of Asher’s relationship with different minor characters involved. Each minor character such as Yudel Krinsky, Uncle Yitzchok, the Rebbe, and Jacob Kahn each help Asher in a different way allowing the reader to interpret the text more thoroughly. Their guidance to the antagonist creates a vivid image inside the reader’s mind of the type of character and their importance to our understanding of the text. Each minor character listed has a deep impact on the resolution of Asher Lev

Yudel Krinsky is a Russian Jew from Siberia, in Russia. When he arrives in Brooklyn he is very grateful towards Asher’s father. “Did you know Asher that your father is an angel of God?” he says. When Asher first meets Yudel Krinsky his curiosity about Serbia and Yudel Krinsky begins. This curiosity soon makes him ask more and more questions about Yudel. “We saw a Jew from Russia,” he says to Mrs. Rackover. When asked about Siberia Mrs. Rackover replies, “What is Siberia? It is a land like the inside of this refrigerator. It is a land of ice and darkness where the Russian government sends people it hates. What is Siberia? No-one should know of it.” This gives a good impression to the reader the torment and struggle Yudel must have felt when living in Siberia. Asher of course does not view this information lightly and wishes to seek more answers about Yudel and Russian Jews. “The son of Reb Aryeh Lev,” is the name Asher is referred to during the beginning journeys of to Yudel’s store. It is important to note he is called the son of Aryeh Lev because they don’t really know each other but later called ‘Asher’. On the first encounter Asher does not ask Yudel any questions. On the second encounter though Asher begins to ask Yudel questions relating to the news in Russia and the relationship between Yudel and Asher begins to bloom like a rose bud.

On the next encounters to Yudel’s store, Yudel starts addressing Asher as ‘Asher’ and not ‘the son of Aryeh Lev’. Asher seems almost attracted to the store and is mesmerized by the metal glass showcase of oils and paints. When Asher steals the oils because he can’t afford them, Yudel starts nurturi...

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...en’t for Jacob’s significant contribution by offering Asher help and criticism Asher would have never prospered as a great painter.

Throughout the text “My name is Asher Lev” by Chaim Potok, minor characters of Jacob Kahn, the Rebbe, Uncle Yitzchok and Yudel Krinsky are central to our understanding of the text. Each character plays a significant part in the artistic progress of Asher Lev and allows him to reach a level of artistic talent at a young age. Their description and techniques used to describe them help the reader interpret the text thoroughly as they have an understanding of the type of character. Each minor character is as vital as the other as without one character Asher may not have been able to accomplish his great feats. Their contributions to Asher through either materials or advice are essential for Asher to establish himself as a great painter. Each character’s actions helping Asher succeed and also attributes to the tension created between themselves and Aryeh Lev which eventually results in the downfall of the Lev household. The minor characters are in essence the key to our understanding as each evaluates Asher’s feelings, emotions, and frustrations of art.

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