The Cellist of Sarajevo Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is a mortar and why is it significant to the narrative?

    Both the cellist and Arrow mention mortars as being explosive devices used to bomb the city of Sarajevo. The cellist mentions that during a mortar strike, 22 people have been killed and Arrow has to run from a building as a mortar is thrown at it. A mortar is a device that fires projectiles at a long distance. The projectiles used can be explosive shells and they were used during the World Wars because they were relatively easy to use and to transport from one place to another.

  2. 2

    What does the pile of dead flowers left on the stool on which the cellist stayed mean?

    During her first day protecting the cellist, Arrow notices that someone left a pile of dead flowers on the stool on which the cellist stayed during his performance. The flowers were left by those who heard the cellist play and who were moved by his performance. The flowers are a gesture that shows that the people liked the music played by the cellist. The fact that the flowers were dead signifies the fact that even though they were moved, the people knew that there was no hope for them.

  3. 3

    What significance has the cellist’s act of leaving his bow behind during his last act and Arrow’s act of leaving her rifle behind?

    After the cellist’s final performance, the cellist leaves his bow behind, on the spot where he played for 22 days. Arrow, having completed her mission, also leaves her riffle behind, next to the cello. Both actions are important because the cello and the rifle are the elements that are very closely connected to their respective characters. By leaving them behind, the characters show that their contribution to saving Sarajevo has been successfully completed. The cellist helped maintain hope throughout the city, and Arrow made sure he stayed alive to do so. After doing their part to save Sarajevo, these items now no longer have a use, thus they are discarded with the flowers. Also, the proximity of the cellist's bow and Arrow's rifle signifies how the cellist's music has brought everyone, however different, closer together. The significance of setting these items down is to show that their contribution to Sarajevo has been successfully fulfilled.

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