In the beginning of the chapter Asher’s father makes a good point about Asher’s drawings. He said “You can’t study Chumash, but this you have time for” (p. 99). He is referring to how Asher’s work at school has been failing and how it is due to the artwork that Asher is doing. It also hit me as very strange when Asher is drawing Stalin in his coffin. Stalin was the source of persecution for the Jews in Russia, and Asher just couldn’t stop drawing him.
It is hard for me to understand why Asher is so persistant about not going to Vienna. It seems that if he wanted to draw, then there would be plenty to draw in Vienna. It just seems like he’s being childish like his parents say. He even goes so far as asking his uncle if he can stay with him. Perhaps Asher is just afraid and will decide to go with his parents later. It doesn’t seem like he has too many good reasons to stay in Brooklyn though. He only has a couple of friends, and they’re adults. Also, he’d would be closer to his father who is always leaving the house.
Asher’s mother gets deeply stressed when Asher arrived back late home. He tells her that he is only walking, but she gets angry anyway. This is probably because she lost her brother only a few years earlier, and his death had such a large impact on her. My own mother does the same thing with me. Since the death of her father when she was nine, she has been looking out for me to make sure she doesn’t lose me as well.
It seems that Asher’s dream makes him think that his artistic gift comes from the devil. At ten years old, it must be hard for Asher to understand if he should still be drawing or not. I think that at this point Asher is wondering if he should still be drawing or if he is defying God. I know how his parents feel about it, especially his dad. He thinks that Asher’s drawings come from the sitra achra, the devil. How else could he think of Asher’s drawing Stalin in his coffin.