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Chapter 3 Journal Entry: Asher's Gift Returns

In chapter 3, some of Asher's fears become evident. He tells the reader that he is scared of traveling, especially on airplanes, and is afraid to move to Vienna. These factors suggest that he is afraid of change. He is comfortable where he is in his life at the moment and does not want to have to start over in a new land. Asher is afraid that he will not fit in, in Vienna. He is scared that he will have no one to talk to and that he will not be able to speak German or French like the other people in Vienna. Asher again tells his parents that "It's not a pretty world" (p. 97). I think Asher is afraid to experience new places in the world since he has not heard good things about these places. Since he knows of enough good things in Brooklyn, he is content with living there.

Asher's father criticized Asher for not knowing geography and for not liking arithmetic. He says, "Sometimes I wonder whose son you are, Asher" (p. 87). I feel that Asher's lack of knowledge is largely the fault of his father, however. This is because his father does not help him learn. For instance, Asher tries to find out why they are moving to Vienna. Instead of sitting down and giving Asher a proper explanation, both parents give him very brief reasons. This confuses Asher further and he has no understanding of why they are leaving Brooklyn.

Asher has many dreams in this chapter. One dream is of the Rebbe and scares him. The other two occur while he is sick. Asher's dreams are a misgiving of conversations that he has later on in the chapter. He believes these dreams to be a reality until his mother disproves him. However, both of these dreams seemed to be significant to Asher. One was of Yudel Krinksy and the other of his uncle. Both involved drawing. The one where Yudel was talking to him, further frightened him of moving to Vienna. These dreams left a lasting influence on Asher. When he had similar conversations, in reality, with his uncle and Yudel, he soon brought about a change in his life. This change was at the end of the chapter. At this point Asher subconsciously draws a picture of Stalin in his coffin. When he realizes what he has drawn, he is shocked. Asher describes his motions while he drew. "The pencil moved as part of my hand across the page of the Hebrew notebook" (p. 98). This is a proof that his gift was never absent. He had it all along, but had chosen not to use it. He was at such a confused state in his life, however, and he needed a way to express his feelings. So he drew the picture.

My prediction for the next chapter is that Asher will continue to draw in order to erase his fears. He will grow farther away from his parents in his determination to keep from moving to Vienna. His mother will try to be more affectionate toward him (as she appeared to be in this chapter) in order to change his feelings about moving.

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