Davitas Harp Essay, Research Paper
In the novel “Davita’s harp,” communism and the effects of war play a significant role on the way Ilana reviews the world, and how she lives as a direct result of her beliefs.
Davita–possessed exceptional sensitivity and intelligence even as a small child–perceives discord and disunity everywhere around her, and cannot be kept from seeing how her parents’ ideals buckle under the hard realities of the world she’s growing into. She sees people scorned and discriminated against because of their political alignments. She grows aware of the terrible disintegration of normal life in Europe under the influence of a few power-mad men. She understands from the stories she hears, first about the Spanish Civil War, then about World War II, that man is capable of unfathomable atrocities. And then the effects of war sweep down on Davita herself, shattering the structure and strength of her family, undermining the last vestiges of her parents’ fervent idealism, stealing from her the warmth and security her family has always given her.
Much of the novel’s action centers around the Spanish civil War. Michael Chandal, Davita’s father is a journalist for a newspaper company. He is often sent there to cover the news about the war for his newspaper. Michael Chandal is a hardworking man, and he is willing to do anything to do his work. Even when he was still not well from his injuries from the war, he was still eager to go back there and do his job. pg 167 “Now is not a time for writing books, Sarah. We’ll have Hitler on our front lawns one day soon if he’s not stopped in Europe. You were there. You know what’s going on.”
Annie Chandal, later known as Annie Dinn, plays a significant role in Ilana’s life. She plays a character that is stubborn and does not believe in God. After her first husband died, she became more lonely and she was very frustrated by her work. But this did not last very long, because not long after this, she got married with Mr. Dinn. She plays a significant role in the way she makes Ilana to think and believe what she believes. Since her mother is not a christian, who does not believe in God, Ilana also follows her beliefs. She is somewhat influenced by her mother in the way she reviews the world.
There is a religious aspect in the book that is portrayed by Potok in the character of Aunt Sarah. Aunt Sarah plays a role as a christian missionary that always help people that are in need. She is also a nurse. She has a strong character and she believes in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. pg 153 “We must pray to Jesus christ for peace, Ilana. He is our Lord.”
Ilana has a very little knowledge about God pg 152 ” Dear child, do you know nothing about Jesus Christ, our Messiah, our Prince of Peace, the Son of God?” , and she has never been encouraged by her parents to grow spiritually. In fact, her father does not like it when she goes to the synagogue with her friends. pg 165 “Sometimes I like to go to the Synagogue on Eastern Parkway where Ruthie Helfman goes. It’s nice there and I like listening to the songs.” Ilana says. “So you go to a synagogue. Christ, what happens here when i’m away? Listen, how about a cup of tea and some cookies for your tired father?”
Aunt Sarah is a big help to Ilana’s spiritual growth. She encourages Ilana to read Christian books and the Bible to make Ilana understand about God. pg 159 “Is this the first book Aunt Sarah has given you? No. There were two others. One was about Christmas in Maine. I liked that one. The other was about Jesus and King Herod and a massacre of little babies when king Herod was told the Messiah was born.” She also teaches Ilana to live in faith and trust in God and always pray. pg 174 “We have to trust in our Lord.” she says. “We must have faith in Jesus Christ. I am going to pray for all of you right now. Will you pray with me?” Sarah gives services not only as a nurse, but as a Christian who believes in God. pg 157 “I am a nurse, davita. I have a religeous duty to go wherever there is suffering. I despise both communism and fascism. But I despise fascism more.”
Jakob Daw, Annie’s long time friend also plays a significant role in the novel. Jakob daw, often called uncle Jakob, is a writter and often tells Ilana a story which she does not really understand. He uses symbolisms in his stories, and few people understand. pg 93-94 “One day a small bird flew over the village. He circled the village twice… The little bird understood that this lovely girl was not the source of the world’s eternal music and flew off to continue his search.”
Jakob Daw, and Davita’s father seem so important to her. And she always concerns about them. Eventhough she does not believe in God, she prayed for them.
pg. 205 “Please protect my father an my Uncle Jakob. Please. Please. My name is Ilana Davita Chandal. Please protect them. I love them very much.”
Later in the novel, when Jakob Daw claimed to be dead, Annie became more religious and began going to the synagogue every morning because of him. pg 380 “Still my mother continiued to leave the apartment every weekday early in the morning for the morning service and before sunset for the afternoon and evening service.” This shows how important Jakob Daw’s role in the book and how he effects the other characters.
Ezra Dinn became Ilana’s new father, he is a different man than Michael. He is more religious and he works as a lawyer. He encourages his family to go to the synagogue and he teaches Ilana about God. He has a positive affect to the other characters in the novel.
In Davita’s Harp, Chaim Potok brings to bear the insight and generosity that have informed all of his novels on a stirring and beautiful story about how we learn and use faith, how it can fail us, and how it can help us know ourselves–alone and as part of an often confounding world. With each of his novels, Chaim Potok has shown that he speaks to a vast audience not only about the Jewish religious experience, but about the profound-sometimes painful, sometimes joyous-effect religion can have on us.