About Asher

Childhood

Asher was raised in a strictly Jewish household and accepted Jewish tradition early on. Since he was able to pick up a crayon, he's been drawing like a professional. Unfortunately for him, in the Jewish community, art is thought to be a sin or, at the very least, a giant waste of time. His father, being the role model Jew with many eyes on him, constantly goes against Asher's art as he gets older.

His Art

His most noticeable and interesting trait Asher has is his unnatural and uncontrollable need for him to draw and paint and how it relates to his emotional state. Though he is always good at art, he occasionally has blackouts and draws without remembering anything. He once drew in his holy book, a major sin, and said he "could not remember drawing it" (Potok 122). It causes him to get in a lot of trouble with his father and teachers, and, in a way, forces him to move more towards being an artist than a Jewish figurehead, like his father intended. The way it comes out in him uncontrollably shows that his drawing is more than a gift. It's how he expresses his feelings and tries to understand why he feels how he does. It helps him deal with the trauma from his mothers depression, his school mates teasing, and and his father's disapproval and virtual disowning of him.

Important People in his life

Importance of his Art

Asher's conflict between his uncontrollable and later all consuming need to draw and its conflict to his traditional upbringing is the main conflict and driving factor in this book. It develops not only his character, but also every other character in the story that undergoes a change in character. His father has a melt down because of it and at one point "grabbed [his] wrist and started squeezing it" at the dinner table when Asher started drawing with his fork without thinking (Potok 217). It also helps his mother learn to be more of a parental figure by standing by him to his father when he gets angry about the art. It even scares his bully straight when he put a drawing of the kid in hell in his binder. His Jewish traits of faith and optimism get to his mentor Jacob Kahn, gives him a friend, and helps him stop having his "moods".