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The irony of acceptance
In a family, the sole mission should be acceptance. Sadly, however, Aryeh Lev does not accept his son Asher for who he truly is. He goes against the law and the Russian government to bring emmigrants into America, but cannot accept what his son has chosen as a career.
The irony of false idoltry
Asher worshipped his father for a long time, thinking he was some great man. When he realized that his father would never accept his art (especially with nudes) he found a new idol (or father figure) in Yudel Krinsky. This later shifted to Jacob Kahn, who (while moody) never questioned Asher's life choices. He chose poorly the first time, and his later choices reflect the differences between the two, and it is almost comical how Asher never saw who was really there to help him.
The irony of conformity
Even though Asher spent his entire life trying to please both worlds of his life, by doing the one thing that every human is expected to do, he isolates himself from his community. That is, by becoming an independent person and showcasing his talents he absolutely loses the trust and respect of his family and peers when he displays his final art pieces. He tried so hard and for so long to please both worlds, and even actively tried to convince his parents not to go to the show, but to no avail. He never picked a side, he was thrown into one.
The irony of art
What is art? To Rivkeh it is completing her brother's work. To Aryeh it is doing what he thinks is his mission (rescuing Russians). But to Asher, he has to find his own meaning of art. Aryeh is willing to accept art as long as it lines up with his goals and will conform to him. But Asher's art prevents him from going to Austria, prevents him from doing well in school, and prevents Aryeh from doing as much as he could. This angers Aryeh and hurts their relationship because he cannot see any other type of art other than what he creates.
The irony of history
History is meant to teach lessons, but in Asher's case he ended up repeating past mistakes. His great-great-great grandfather was isolated from his community, and by haunting Asher with memories, he forces him to do the same. The Mythic Ancestor is meant to teach Asher conformity, but through the tumultuous history it conveys, the message is confused. Eventually, the Ancestor teaches the repetition of past mistakes.
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Asher's father simply wants to lead him in another direction. It is common for parents to discourage children from one task and encourage things they themselves enjoy or are interested in. Different cultures emphasize different things.......
I believe that Rebbe thought Asher's work with Kahn would be helpful to Asher. Asher's gift was is its own way an obsession.... it was compulsive. In my opinion, Rebbe hoped that studying with Kahn would teach Asher to channel the gift..... to...
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