Exodus Essay Research Paper ExodusExodus by Leon

Exodus Essay, Research Paper


Exodus, by Leon Uris, is a novel of genuine Affirmation. One of the most

prevalent of the affirmative themes is the idea of growth. Many of the

characters learn a lot about themselves, and change tremendously in a

positive way. Earlier in their lives, these characters decided to live

their life one way, but throughout the book they change, and join each

other to unite. Fighting for their common religion and fundamental rights

brought them together in a way that is barely imaginable. In Exodus, Mr.

Uris shows that a common belief can bring people together, and which leads

to personal growth. During the course of the story, the characters who

show the most growth are Ari Ben Canaan, Kitty Fremont, and Dov Landau.

Ari Ben Canaan undergoes change through his relationship with Kitty. Ari

is what is known as a sabra. A sabra is actually a small fruit which is

hard on the outside and soft on the inside. This metaphor is used to

describe young Jewish freedom fighters, because of their hard exterior.

But inside, what drives them is their determination and deep emotions. Ari

Ben Canaan fits this description. What is different about him is that he

is at the very extreme. His exterior is hard and completely unemotional,

and he finds it impossible to get in touch with any of his emotions. When

Ari was 14 years old, while bringing grain to a nearby Arab village, he was

beat up by a gang of Arab boys and his grain was stolen. After that

incident, his father, Barak Ben Canaan, taught Ari to use a bull whip and

defend himself. At 15, Ari joined the secret Army of Self Defense, the

Haganah. A few years later, Ari s young wife Dafna was brutally murdered

and raped by Arabs. Instead of responding violently, Ari only deepened his

determination to keep the land of Palestine for the Jewish people. These

few events in Ari s life show the complexity of his personality and

experiences, and help to show just why Ari is so determined for the cause.

Years later, after meeting Kitty Fremont, Ari loves her, but cannot tell

her so. It is impossible for him to admit his feelings so easily, even

though truthfully he loves her more deeply than he loved Dafna. Through

their experiences together, they build a friendship, and both of them want

more than that but neither will admit it. What brings them to finally

accept each other is the death of Karen, which finally made Ari question

his ideals, after everyone has died. Ari breaks down and cries, something

he has never done before. He is not ready to completely change his ways,

he says to Kitty, “…it may be forever before I can ever again say that

my need for you comes first, before all other things…before the needs of

this country.” (page 599). But still, he has taken a giant leap and shown

his emotions, which shows a great amount of growth on his part.

Kitty Fremont also shows growth in her relationship with Ari, but she

personally grows more with her views on involvement with the Jewish movement,

and by being able to separate herself from Karen. In both of these areas,

Kitty starts out with one point of view, and is able to expand her thoughts

to include what is best for everyone. At first, Kitty wants nothing to do

with the whole thing, “Everything connected with Caraolos is neck deep in

politics. I am certain that the British have their reasons. I don t wish

to take sides.” (page 51). What makes her cooperate with the plan, and work

as a nurse in the Caraolos displaced persons camp, is the fact that Karen

Hansen Clement is there. Karen reminds Kitty of her dead daughter, Sandra,

and Kitty uses Karen as a replacement, to have somebody to love as a daughter.

She knows deep down that it is not Sandra and that she ll never have her

baby back, but she still lets herself become attached to Karen. Her intention

is to bring Karen back to America with her, but Karen wishes to stay in

Palestine. Kitty can not comprehend Karen s determination and love for the

land, which goes along with her lack of understanding with the cause.

Kitty sees everything as a foreigner, she doesn t feel as if the land belongs

to her, as the Jewish feel. She even convinces Karen to come to America after

Dov sends Karen a letter that he hates her. But then she realizes she cannot

leave, and that it would be cruel to force Karen to leave as well. A letter

from Harriet Saltzman is one of the things that changed her mind. This letter

read, “You have asked my opinion of the common denominator and the reason we

are able to get such quick recoveries and dynamic results from those children

who are borderline psychopaths. Well, I think you know that answer far better

than I. You gave it to me the first time I saw you in Jerusalem. The wonder

drug is “Eretz Israel.” The spirit is so strong here it seems unnatural.

They desire only to live and fight for their country.” (page 450). This helps

Kitty to understand, and she decides to let Karen stay where she belongs. And

Kitty also begins to feel as if she belongs, “Shalom… I am staying at Gan

Dafna. This is where I belong.” (page 451). Later, she lets Karen live her

own life, and learns to let go. Although she still loves Karen deeply, she no

longer needs to have Karen as she used to. Of course Karen s death is still

devastating, but Kitty has grown. She has also grown in her support of the

cause. At first she was too wrapped up in worrying about politics, but after

spending so much time seeing the problem and the injustices, her conscience

tells her what is right, just as Ari predicted when he met her: “I like

Americans. Americans have consciences. As soon as yours begins to get the

best of you, you can reach me at Mandria s and I ll be glad to show you around

Caraolos.” Both through her eventual support of the Jewish movement, and her

relationship with Karen, Kitty grew.

Perhaps the character who showed the most growth was Dov Landau. The reason he

showed the most growth, is he came from such a traumatic beginning. He was

the only survivor from the Warsaw ghetto, where his entire family was killed

or sent to Treblinka, a death camp. He was eventually caught and sent to

Auchwitz, where he was forced to take the bodies out of the gas chambers after

the people were killed. Afterwards, when the war ended, he was sent to the

displaced persons camp, where he met Karen. He was understandably disturbed

from his experiences, and was very withdrawn, but Karen sensed something from

him, and tried to get closer to him. First he pushed her away, but then they

grew to care about each other. They made the trip on the Exodus together,

they survived the hunger strike, and together they went to Gan Dafna, to begin

their lives as free people. Later, a change split them apart when Dov decided

to join the Maccabees. He joined because he was eager for revenge, because of

all he had been through. He wrote Karen a letter of lies, saying that he no

longer cared for her, and that he found another girl-friend and lived with her.

He told these lies to justify leaving her to himself, and to try to get her to

forget about him. It didn t work though. Dov was captured by the British and

sentenced to death, he still tried to deny it to himself that he loved her, but

he failed. After he was rescued by a plan devised by Ari Ben Canaan, he found

Karen and came back to her. When Dov came back to Karen, this marked the biggest

change in him, as he finally opened up. “I have thought so much about you all

the time. I won t ever do anything wrong or anything that would hurt you.”

(page 478). This was a big breakthrough for Dov, and once he had opened up, he

continued to grow. Later, he is invited to come to America to study at MIT,

since he is working on a water project for the Jordan River. Dov has changed

from being a withdrawn, disturbed, teenager, to a contributing adult. Even after

Karen dies, he says he will not go back to the way he was, “I m going on. I ll

make her proud of me.” (page 597). Karen helped bring out the change and growth

in Dov, and because of this growth, he can go on after her death.

The characters of Ari, Kitty, and Dov, all start out with certain problems… Ari

who is unable to express emotions, Kitty who will not take sides, and who at first

latches onto Karen trying to pretend it is her daughter, and Dov, with the numerous

traumas in his past. It is only by helping each other that they are all able to go

on… Ari and Kitty can finally say they love each other, Kitty believes fully in

the cause, and she doesn t need to have Karen, and Karen helps bring out Dov s

personality from where he had buried it so long ago. I think this expresses

something about the human condition, that during hard times, people will help one

another in order to be able to go on, and by doing this, they grow.


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