In each of the three novels, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Emma by Jane Austen, and My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok, the protagonists are rather strategically placed in different positions in society. As such they are given rather striking qualities, traits, and backgrounds, which make it easy for one to notice a great deal of character growth and development as the novel progresses. Each character, through a variety of literary techniques, can be traced through a climactic development to their final disconnection with their old selves. Additionally, these same techniques allow us to watch as they make their initial entrance into a state of self awareness and the beginnings of becoming a new person.
Huckleberry Finn, of all the characters to be discussed, comes from the most adverse situation. Being in the lowest level of society, a child, and having an early aversion to society, Huckleberry Fin must go through a trying amount of traumatizing events before coming to his final development as a character. However, this aversion to society creates a great deal of skepticism and cynicism that aid Finn along his path. Continually we see Finn rejected or mistreated by society. It rather seems that society failed him when he needed it most. In turn, Finn is able to develop a sense of independence from it. It is in this way that we trace his development. How far he can or will go with or without society. Can Finn find morality without guidance? In the end, he must either become part of the society he hates, or completely disengage himself from it.
Emma, in Jane Austen’s novel, is a bright girl blest with money and the adoration of those around her. However, as we come to find out early on, she is a little too blessed. Emma has “the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself.” (Austen, 2001, ch.1) In this early passage of the book Austen warns us of Emma’s faults as they will go on to play an immense role in her future development and conflict. This particular quotation is important to recall and remember throughout the novel while tracing Emma’s progress.
Asher Lev is also a highly unique character, perhaps one of the most unique between the three, having come from a highly exclusive Jewish community. From an early age we see Asher’s partiality toward art, even a talent for it. However, his community is a religious one, and being a Hasidic Jew, he is required to follow a strict set of religious practices. Within Asher emerges a battle between his art and his religion. Where exactly do his heart and loyalties lie? With his community pulling him one way and his passion another, he must sort out his emotions and priorities. It is through this conflict that Asher makes his way toward emotional development.
As mentioned earlier, each author uses a number of different literary techniques to portray the protagonists growth. Among these we will discuss three, and at length, describe and explain their uses and impact in each novel. All of the previously mentioned works employ the use of setting, characterization, and themes with a background heavily reliant on society in order to develop their characters mentally and emotionally. The setting generally creates a sense of conflict for the character. In each novel the protagonists seem to struggle with their place or position in society. Where, when, and how they live seems to impact the way in which they struggle to develop. Characterization is effectively used in both planning the personalities of the protagonists and planning their foils and influences. Each protagonist is given at least one character to which we can attribute an influence to. The foils are meant to show contrast between the protagonist and those around them, as well as to show the progress the character makes toward self-awareness.
Lastly, themes are used as a background in each of the novels in order to create a conflict between the character and their surroundings. This in turn encourages internal growth as a result of the discrepancies. Through the employment of such effective themes as each of these three novels make use of, we are able to easily identify problems and foreshadow potential problems and areas of growth. Additionally, these themes serve as a basis for change. It seems that if the character wishes to reach autonomy between themselves and the world around them, they must first solve the discrepancies between them.
Highly popularized by Twain’s previous novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the character Huckleberry Finn returns to experience his own “adventure.” His adventure, however, turns out to be more of a journey toward self-awareness, societal awareness, and a decision between which he values more. His ideals or those of society.
The first thing we notice about the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is its rather controversial setting. For a novel often satirizing former literary works and creating comedy out of would be serious situations, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is set in a very unnaturally somber and sensitive time period in American history. However, in setting the novel in the old South before the abolition of slavery, Twain actually opened up a number of developing points for his character Huckleberry Finn.
Since Finn is a character highly critical of society, he often resorts to choosing the best path for himself and not taking society as a guideline. Being that the setting is in a time when slavery was commonplace and considered acceptable, Finn often finds himself placed in situations where he must make what would be controversial moral decisions. Throughout the novel these sorts of moral choices create a heavy amount of emotional and moral development. We see that often times Finn rejects the conventional moral choices of society for his own ideals, ideals which seem very clean cut to him. For example, in Finn’s time slavery was normal and many people owned slaves. But Finn on several occasions refuses to follow society’s lead and helps Jim, a slave, to freedom. (2006). Although he watch Finn continually struggle with society’s preconceptions of African Americans, he often finds himself at odds with societal standards and adverse to their beliefs. Twain utilizes this well to show Finn’s mind developing into a person who can think and choose for himself without the help of society. He further develops this point in his characterization.
Essentially, the setting Twain chose enable us to watch as Finn questions society and filters through his logic to try and draw conclusions about the world around him. Although in the end we still see him as only beginning to sort through the rubble of differences between he and the society that the setting poses, his full development is in the path that he has set for himself. His decision to follow his own path tells us he has made a choice.
In Emma Jane Austen takes a different scope on setting, yet still relies heavily on society in doing so. The novel takes place in the nineteenth century, in a rural town in England. But more importantly, it centers around the uppermost and most affluent in that society. It is this particular society that Emma is not only a part of, but a key member of, and here that Emma is confined. She is limited in what she can do, and what is acceptable to do. Because of this setting Emma often gets herself into trouble, employing her attentions with her extensive imagination. Due to this limited life that society provides her, and her tendency toward matchmaking, her development often springs from her conflicts. Time and time again we see how Emma’s imagination and hobby of matchmaking cause her problems and misunderstandings that even hurt people and herself. Through such conflict, as trying as it is for her, Emma develops a better sense of what she is doing to herself and those around her. She develops a sense of feeling and a keener insight into her own mind and emotions.
Since the setting places Emma in a smaller town, and at the top end of society there, she doesn’t struggle as we saw Finn do in Twain’s novel. On the contrary, we often notice Emma accepting popular views or setting them. Her situation is not only in affluent society, but to be affluent society, and thus her feelings on the matter are quite the contrary to Finn’s. However, she somewhat embodies all that we saw Finn detest about society. Because Emma hardly notices those around her as being her equal, she gives them low value and low importance in her life. We see that during her time without Miss Taylor (Mrs. Weston) that she merely decides to “replace” the loss instead of heal it. She in turn is using Harriet as a means of getting the attention she needs. “Emma had very early foreseen now how useful she might find her. In that respect Mrs. Weston’s loss had been important.” (Austen, 2001, ch. 4)
It becomes clear that such a small and “refined” society has set themselves up with a strict and refining class system to which people adhere. Emma, although strictly adhering to the standards herself, is found on several occasions mix matching social levels in her endeavors at matchmaking. Another problem that causes an intense amount of confusion ad hurt. It isn’t until late in the novel, and until we see Emma has gone though a number of mistakes that have sever repercussions, that we begin to see her come to grips with reality and accept how things are in actuality instead of how they are in her imagination.
Asher Lev’s setting is the most strict, and yet the most versatile in how the author can and does use it. My Name is Asher Lev is set in a Hasidic Jewish community with Asher’s parents being high up in the ladder of society there. Asher’s father works for the Rebb, the highest member of society. This in itself is enough to introduce the first major conflict. Since Asher’s art is apparently of extreme importance, and religion plays a central role in his life personally and his family life, Asher experiences an enormous amount of conflict between he and his father in addition to the conflict between he and his community. During several parts of the book we see this tension come to the surface, for example, in chapter four Asher is told by his father that he thinks his art is “from the other side.” (2006). Thus Asher is put into a setting where he can get very little support from anywhere.
Through the setting Potok able to show how determined Asher is in creating art. It conveys the message of how important art is to Asher’s life and development. Furthermore, it creates a basis for Asher’s development to build upon. Without this tension many key developing points I the book would lose their significance. Because his is a strict Jew it is shocking and eye-opening how he chooses to portray the emotions of his family. It is also because of the setting that Asher must truly struggle to develop as an artist. We notice his work develop along with him as he grows more self-aware. This shall be discussed further during the section on themes in which Asher’s art will be addressed.
It becomes quite apparent that setting will also play a pivotal role in Asher’s emotional and mental development when we see the constant setting changes and their effects on the growing Asher. As a child living with his parents he is quite limited to their instruction. He must do as they say and art cannot be a priority for him. However, after both his father and mother leave for Europe Asher gains a sort of independence. Through the setting change we notice Asher break with the bonds of his childhood and create a new world for himself. Again he does this when he moves to Paris. In Paris, completely detached from the things that used to hold sway over him, he is able to finally drop the selfish and childish notions that early on classify him and see the pain and suffering of others. He grows personally to one much more mature and understanding of the world, as well as one much more mature and understanding of himself. “Away from my world, alone in an apartment that offered me neither memories nor roots, I began to find old and distant memories of my own, long buried by pain and time and slowly brought to the surface now.” (Potok, n.d., ch. 13).
Characterization is a commonly used technique, and there is little debate over its importance. Whether the character is likeable or not, a hero or anti-hero, characterization plays a huge, and often memorable, role in a character’s development. “The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her waysÃ¢Â?Â¦I got into my old rags and sugarhogshead again, and was free and satisfied.” (Twain, 2001, ch. 1).
As briefly touched upon in an earlier segment, Huckleberry Finn’s characterization is quite the contrary to the other protagonists in the novels discussed. Finn’s attitude, personality traits, and outlook on life, are all completely different. Additionally, Finn is a child, and one with little guidance in his upbringing. Given, this lack of proper guidance is due in part to Finn’s constant resistance. However, it is also due to the fact that Finn was born into the lowest of society, and often failed by it.
This characterization leads Finn to many developing points. Since he is without the guidance of society he is able to guide himself. Mistakes and all, he is given the chance to learn. Being independent of the hypocrisy of society, once can also say that Finn can and does develop without that same sense of hypocrisy so prevalent in popular society. As mentioned earlier, this point is emphasized by the setting he is placed in.
Finn is also able to look at society differently than those around him. Since the setting and characterization place him on the outside of society is he often able to look in on it. Because of his characteristic cynicism he doesn’t long to be in society, but rather is able to “see through” it. He can see all the errors of society’s ways, all the malice, lies, and hypocrisy; and because of this sight he is also able to condemn them for it. In the long run this helps Finn to create a more conscientious and clear morality. He gains a clearer perspective of right and wrong and how to apply it. We see that Finn, although only a child, is able to determine between a necessary lie and a malicious one (2006) when he lies in order to save Jim. Clearly this shows development in his awareness and emotional and mental growth. Growth ultimately triggered by his innate characteristics
Emma’s characterization is a little more complex. Throughout much of the book we aren’t sure whether to love her or hate her. Whether to trust her judgments and conclusions or whether to reject them. Although most of the characters in the novel accept them without question, we are left with the feeling that some of them are a little askew. Emma is portrayed from the start as an ideal lady, talented, bright, and beautiful. Yet as the novel progresses we watch as she reveals the flaws of her nature. She is selfish and seemingly a bit haughty. Although she is well-educated and right, she is also overly spoiled. Still, it is both these positive and negative points that bring about her reformation.
Through these traits we are able to trace a stream of progress in her emotional and mental development. In the beginning chapters of the novel she is explained to think very highly of herself. In fact, we see few people dispute her greatness. However, in the final chapters Emma comes to understand herself as being a flawed individual. In a sense she comes to understand that she is only human, and like other humans, makes mistakes. She also comes to realize how her actions effect others and herself. Many of these realizations we can attribute to her cleverness and cunning in pulling herself back from her mistakes and learning a lesson from them. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that everyone can do.
To further the effects of her characterization on her development we can bring back into the spotlight her vivid sense of imagination. This, and her initial egoism, lead to many of the conflict in the novel. Both traits are revealed as not only being problems for others, but barriers to her own happiness. Because her imagination leads her to pair up others as romantic matches, she overlooks her own romantic interest. She even mistakes this for disinterest in the subject. However, we see that she isn’t disinterested at all, and that the only way she can truly be happy is to be paired with Mr. Knightly.
Additionally her games and egoism keep her from Mr. Knightly. In flirting with Frank Churchill she hurts Mr. Knightly and drives him to London. He doesn’t want to see the two of them together and believes Emma to have true feelings for him. (2006). In turn, this also damages Jane Fairfax, who is later revealed to be engaged to Frank Churchill. However, her indiscretions with Frank Churchill also lead Mr. Knightly to scold her and ultimate evoke a change. It is through this that Emma realizes the consequences of her actions on others. Though her personal flaws and mistakes end up causes an enormous amount of pain, she is able through them to create a better self and become more aware of both herself and those around her.
Asher’s characterization is surprising much simpler compared to his complex setting. At an early age Asher seems to be a little selfish in how he views his life and its changes. He is often highly concerned about how changes will effect him, and hardly thinks about how others will have to adapt. However, being that he is a child, this fairly acceptable and even understandable. Yet because of his obstinate nature and tendency toward rebellion he causes a divide between his family. He often tears his mother’s affections in two as she must be loyal to both Asher and his father. As a child he doesn’t understand this and thus continues such behavior for some time throughout the novel.
Another key character trait we notice early on is his lack of maturity and inability to compromise or balance priorities. In chapter 6 Asher completely devotes himself to art neglecting his religion, community, and family interest. (Potok, n.d.) Although his parents try to sway him it is obvious that he lacks proper foresight and pays rather too much attention to himself. This characterization ends up costing Asher a great deal. Besides the initial embarrassment he causes his father and family, Asher practically loses his father as the novel progresses. His mother becomes the only bridge between the two people and thus suffers a great deal of strain.
Potok uses Asher’s characterization to point out the flaws and foreshadow the problems that Asher will continue to have throughout his life. Not only that but he He utilizes it as a means of setting an area of change, a goal of sorts for Asher to reach. Blinded by his desire to satisfy his needs and himself he is unable to see who he really is or how he really affects those around him. (2006). Closing out the novel in the final chapters Asher finally comes to terms with who he is and what he is willing to do to express that. His art is able to mature because he is no longer the childish and self-interested person he used to be.
Through Asher’s characterization we notice the changes that occur. His traits create conflict within himself and his community that must be dealt with. Thus, his characterization greatly contributes to his emotional and mental development.
Yet there is one other characterization factor one must consider. The impact of another character on the protagonist. For Finn this character is Jim. For Emma it is Mr. Knightley, and for Asher it is Kahn.
Jim impacts Finn in a very interesting way. It seems that without Jim Finn would suffer the loss of many of the great lessons he learns that develop his character. As we read through the sections of the book where there is interaction between Jim and Finn we notice the father-esque role he takes on. Jim acts as a sort of protector and guide for Finn as we journeys through self-awareness. Jim shields Finn in many ways from the society that has turned its back on him. (2006). It is because of Jim, and Finn’s extensive interaction with him, that Finn is able to create a new morality for himself and a sense of equality that, in his time, was unheard of. Finn is able to perceive Jim as an equal and one that shouldn’t be submitted to the horrors of slave life. As evidence of this we can cite Finn’s defense of Jim against the slave holders and trying to save Jim’s life when he was locked in the shed. However, we can also see Finn revert back to his old ways when in contact with normal society in the form of Tom Sawyer. In some senses it seems that Tom and Jim represent for Finn the ways in which he struggles with society. His decisions concerning the two give us insight into how he is making progress emotionally and mentally. When he ops toward Jim he is opting out of societal conventions and furthering his development of his own ideas. Contrastingly when opting in the favor of Tom Sawyer he is opting for society and giving in to following their norms. Throughout the novel Finn makes astonishing progress toward the former and only relapses one at the end when opting to take part in Tom Sawyer’s “adventure” in trying to get Jim from the shed. We can, however, credit Finn for his ideal of saving Jim, and sticking to the plan. His ideals behind why Jim should be freed are valid and show that his progress, despite his decision to follow Sawyer, is not in vain.
For Emma, this impacting character is Mr. Knightley. His impact on Emma is not only intriguing, but very necessary to Emma development. Although Jim’s influence of Finn makes his progress more prominent, it can be safely said that without Mr. Knightley’s influence on Emma her progress would be very limited to simply learning from her mistakes. From Mr. Knightley’s early entrance into the novel we notice his stark difference from the other characters. He is the only one that notices and even points out the flaws in Emma. As such, he is able to act as a sort of compass for her. “She was vexed beyond what could have been expressed-almost beyond what she could conceal. Never had she felt so agitated, so mortified, grieved at any circumstance in her life. She was most forcibly struck. The truth of his (Mr. Knightley’s) representation there was no denyingÃ¢Â?Â¦And how suffer him to leave her without saying one word of gratitude, of concurrence, of common kindness.” (Austen, 2001, ch. 43). It is apparent that she respects Mr. Knightley and regards him as highly important in her life, and although she doesn’t always follow his lead she seems to turn to him for approval. As unwanted as his chiding seems to be to her, it is often this exact thing that evokes a change in her. If his approval is withheld Emma longs to correct the mistake which has displeased him, and in doing so comes to terms with the fact that she was incorrect in her actions. Obviously this brings about a change in her character. Through Mr. Knightley we see Emma change significantly, and grow into what a real and proper lady should be. In fact, her final development comes at the end of the novel when she accepts to marry him. His final impact on her is aligning his thoughts and ideals with hers, and we see that she has fully realized the errors she was formerly guilty of. She is no longer the selfish and overly proud girl she was at the beginning of the novel. But a feeling and aware member of upper-class society. She has learned that her actions greatly effect those around her, and that they also greatly effect her and her happiness.
Finally we come to young Asher Lev, whose significant character is rather unique to him in that he isn’t a member of the Jewish community. Kahn plays an immensely important role in Asher’s life. He becomes a bridge between the Jewish community and the world outside. Kahn introduces Asher to much of the art world that he comes to know, and the conventions and techniques that make one a real artist. It is also Kahn that puts Asher in touch with his art in a way that creates an outlet for him to share his true emotions. He gives Asher a freedom of expression that Asher’s community cannot grant. This freedom of expression goes on to give Asher the ability to grow and become more in-touch with his feelings. However, Kahn also gives Asher the stability and support to balance his community commitments and his art. It is the first time we see Asher find a balance between the two, and a sign that he is maturing. Kahn introduces Asher to some of his deepest developing points and creates a bond with Asher that we don’t see with anyone else. Without Kahn Asher would go on underdeveloped in art and thus never reach the final developing stage in Paris.
From Kahn’s first entrance we see him begin to impact Asher. He warns him against what being an artist is and how it can divide him from his community, but he never discourages his art. It is the first time Asher really experiences encouragement in his endeavors. Kahn guides Asher through finding himself and using art as a medium to do so. He introduces Asher to different places and different types of art. Through Kahn Potok was able to show Asher’s development in ways that wouldn’t have been visible in the first person point of view the story is taken from.
Lastly we come to themes as a means of relating the protagonists move toward self-awareness and personal growth. Themes are universal ideas, are commonly found in literary works. Yet they are not often utilized as well as in these three novels as a means for tracing the growth of the main characters. In each novel there are generally several running themes, however we will examine only one for each novel, the one that seems to impact the character’s growth the greatest.
Education seems to be a huge factor in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Throughout the novel Finn is desperately trying to avoid the teachings and “civilizing” that society offers. Since, as we have discussed, he realizes the flaws and hypocrisy associated with popular society he believes himself able to educate himself in a better way. This becomes even more apparent while on the raft floating down the Mississippi river. There Huck is free to make his own decisions and we can freely see what they are and what the results are.
“Ã¢Â?Â¦I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.” (Twain, 2001, ch. 35). Finn’s adamant refusal to become educated as society would have it leads to his growth as a separate and entirely different entity from other characters in the novel. He takes his experiences and the words of Jim as lessons and develops a sense of justice. Through his self teaching Finn becomes very logical because he is constantly analyzing the cause and effect of things. He makes his decisions based on what is logical even if they aren’t the things that are common in society. This leads Finn into his ultimate development of detaching himself from the world around him. Having no use and no desire for popular education, Finn is free to make his own decisions. And as we see at the end, these decisions are the ones he has grown to think and see as best.
Education plays an important role, as through it we are able to watch Finn educate himself. We are able to see the changes that emerge in Finn’s character through self-education versus the education we see embodied by Tom Sawyer. Education becomes the culmination of Finn’s efforts to avoid society and in the final chapter we see the results that culmination. Finn decides to leave his hometown in order to create an environment where he can fit in and ease the massive gap between himself and society.
In Emma the most prominent and comprehensive theme is romance and marriage. It is, although an extremely common theme, used highly effectively in the novel to portray Emma’s situation, her flaws, her desires, and ultimately the opening of her door to self-awareness.
Throughout the novel we watch as a number of different couples are either married, matched, and/or anticipated to be married soon. In many of these cases romance plays a part in the conflict that character experience. Harriet believes her happiness relies on marrying whereas Emma believes her does not. However, it becomes nearly impossible for Emma to match Harriet suitably and far too possible to match Emma. This problem causes a dire amount of pain and suffering for the character. Yet this romance also leads them to find what they truly desire.
For Emma she believes, and is constantly asserting, that she doesn’t want to get married. Yet when Harriet finally sets her sights on Mr. Knightley, Emma begins to feel something she has never felt before. She comes to realize that it is she who loves Mr. Knightley and that the only way she could ever achieve happiness is to be with him. It is a huge turning point for her as she had committed herself to never marrying, and that those who marry are unhappy. The idea of romance, although creating a great deal of conflict, opens Emma’s eyes to who she really is and what she truly wants from life.
Like Emma, My Name is Asher Lev contains a very visible and conflict creating theme. However, Potok uses theme to pull characters apart instead of bring them together. The theme centers around art and religion, both concepts that play a huge role in Asher’s life as we watch him grow. Through this theme, and the aforementioned help of Kahn, we are able to watch Asher make some of the biggest changes in the novel.
Early on Asher takes on art as a hobby, and even begins to portray the world as he sees it. His mother asks him to represent the world in a more beautiful manner with his art than he is. However, Asher refuses on the grounds that that is simply not how he sees things. (Potok, n.d., ch. 1) In any event, Asher’s love for art creates a conflict with his religious commitments. It is not that the Jewish community he is from frowns on art itself, or the young Asher’s love of it. Merely that Asher often neglects his religious duties or does things which the community does not find acceptable. Early on Asher does not balance his life. He focuses on art as a means of viewing the world, and does anything he can to create art. As a child, he is unable to understand his art and what it really means; and like a child it is hard for him to determine when it is okay to do and when it isn’t.
Being that Asher’s parents are top community members, this conflict creates an excessive amount of tension within his family. Unfortunately, Asher is too young to realize or understand the problems he is creating. In this sense the theme of art and religion shows us Asher’s initial state of mind, where he is at in his life; and even though he can’t understand it, how his art is impacting him. Likewise, it faithfully conveys these major points throughout the novel. As an adolescent Asher begins to mature. He begins to be able to control his life in that he prioritizes things and balances his art and religious commitments. At this point in the middle of the novel Asher is still too young o fully understand the conflict around him, but manages to avoid any major struggles between his art and his religion.
As Asher matures we notice that intellectually he is left fairly stagnant. Although he is better able to balance his life, and even later choose between what is most important, he is still unable to fully grasp his ideals and emotions. His final struggle between Judaism and art give us insight into his last bit of development. His final awakening and awareness in which he becomes fully in touch with himself intellectually and emotionally. His art finally comes out on top as the thing in his life that means the most. To Asher it is more important to create art and to feel through his art than anything else. In showing his crucifix painting, even though he knew it would cause grief, Asher create a final severance between he and the religious community. The crucifix served the purpose of showing Asher’s connection to the outside world over his community, as well as depicting how far he had come in his search for knowledge and personal awareness. It depicted just how much he knew and felt about his mother’s suffering, and shows how strongly he feels this pain. This break allowed his journey toward self-awareness to fully end and the conflict that once tore him apart is resolved.
Although each protagonist eventually reaches full development, they take a rather rocky and conflict ridden path to get there. Marred by society’s mark on them, and their character flaws each protagonist must come to an understanding of themselves and the world around them in order to create a world in which they can live and finally be at peace.
Huckleberry Finn uses his experiences with Jim and his time on the Mississippi and contrasts it with the time he spent in popular society. (2006). In doing so he is able to finally reach the conclusion that he is better off without society. He is able to make judgments on his own and behave himself in a manner in which is more fitting of a civilized society. Finn’s journey through self-awareness ends in his decision to disconnect with society and move away from the south. Through his actions we are able to see the results of his adventure, a sense of morality, and a consciousness toward the sufferings of others. He understands himself clearer and why his ideals are what they are.
Emma finishes the novel with perhaps the greatest amount of knowledge about herself acquired. She comes away with, not only her source of ultimate happiness, but also the knowledge of the wrongness of her previous actions. She finally aligns her ideals and actions with those of Mr. Knightley, the constant moral compass in the novel. She learns the powers of what caring truly is, and how much people’s lives and affections are actually worth.
Asher Lev, who goes through such an emotional roller coaster, ends up with a rather questionable resolution. Yet, for however questionable it may be, Asher has come full circle and to a full emotional development. His initial conflict between art and his religion is resolved, and his decision to take art over his religion shows his emotional development. He comes to a maturity which allows him to make a choice between the two things that once tore him. Additionally, we see that Asher is now able to express himself and his emotions through his art. He comes to comprehend the power of his art and understand what it means to him. Each of these things he lacked sufficiently in the beginning of the novel, and in the final chapters we see he obtains them in spades.
Each of the aforementioned achievements, as addressed in this paper, were accomplished by the protagonist but depicted through the literary techniques discussed. It seems clear now that without these it becomes nearly impossible to trace the line of growth between the protagonist of the beginning of the novel and the protagonist of the end. Characters who seem, when examined side by side, to be completely separate characters due to their enormous reformation.
Thanks to the themes addressed, characterization created, and settings used, we are able to connect the protagonists in each story and watch as they make their way toward a deeper sense of self and surrounding. We can watch as their intriguing set of conflicts, mishaps, and adventures push them towards a road of stark changes in which they emerge in a state disconnected with their former selves, and connected with a new one. Thus has the author achieved the feat of creating both a memorable character, and a literary masterpiece.