The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Struggles of War and the Endurance of the Human Spirit: The Cellist of Sarajevo 12th Grade

War has always been one of the most shocking and destructive staples of human history. In his novel The Cellist of Sarajevo, Canadian author Steven Galloway seeks to encapsulate the effects that war has on individuals. Galloway emphasizes that although war has a significant impact on people, it is the positive outlook of citizens that enables them to grow in times of great sorrow. The author displays such a view of humanity through the symbolic use of music, the broken glass imagery, and the wildflowers. Ultimately, Galloway highlights the positive potential of the human spirit, even in times of struggle and strife.

The importance of the Cellist to the moral of the story cannot be overstated. The Cellist is an individual who endeavours, in the face of great danger, to play his instrument for twenty-two days consecutively. As the author makes clear, this is done in commemoration of the twenty-two victims who died as a result of a mortar strike on a crowded bakery in the besieged city of Sarajevo.

In Galloway's composition, the narrator takes the role of Kenan, a character who’s daily routine consists of gathering water for his family. Kenan is a great admirer of music and states that “He has been to hear the Cellist play every...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8023 literature essays, 2252 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in