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My Name is Asher Lev: Journal Entry 7

The book My Name is Asher Lev ends on a sad note. Asher has finally achieved success as an artist through his final show. His paintings titled the "Brooklyn Crucifixions" are considered to be masterpieces. However, his success is bittersweet because he has defied the Hasidic community. The Rebbe asks Asher to leave Brooklyn and suggests he moves back to Europe. I was disappointed by this ending. The last paragraph of the book reads "I hailed a cab and climbed inside... I turned in my seat and looked out the rear window of the cab. My parents were still watching me through our living-room window." (p. 350). I think Potok used good symbolism to have the Levs watching through the window as he left. However, I think he chose a bad method to end the book. By exiling Asher from his home goes against the issue of the entire book. It says that there is no way Asher can fit in with his people. Asher had this problem throughout his whole life and now that he must leave, he will have the problem forever. Asher Lev is an outcast, however if he truly did not belong with the Hasidic Jews, then why did he still wear his ear locks and dress like the other Jews? He still carried himself as one. I feel that the Rebbe should have noted this and that his family should have accepted him.

The ending to Black Like Me was even more disappointed than that of My Name is Asher Lev. The last fourth of the book was dedicated to the author's experiences with news reporters. It had nothing to do with the issue of the book which was to find out what it is like living as a minority. I was bored with hearing journal entries that Griffin wrote as description of the aftermath of his journey. Additionally, as a whole I feel that the book included too much personal philosophy on racism and not enough of his interactions with others. The interactions that were included were very interesting, but his philosophies were ones that have been heard plenty of times. The fact that My Name is Asher Lev was from the protagonist point of view made me enjoy it more. I found through reading Black Like Me that the nonfiction can get boring. This is because I felt that I was being preached to. In My Name is Asher Lev I was just reading about Asher's life. The tone of the book was very fluent and I read through it quickly.

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