College of Arts and Sciences
Master of Arts in English (MA)
Jewish-American, literature, Potok, Martin Buber, Mikhail Bakhtin, cultural confrontation
Arts and Humanities | Philosophy
Williams, Sara Marie, "The Inner Dialogue of Cultures: "Core-to-core confrontation" in My Name is Asher Lev and Davita's Harp" (2022). Masters Theses. 886.
Chaim Potok’s novels My Name is Asher Lev and Davita’s Harp offer an immersion into an otherwise private culture. They are doorways of sorts into the twentieth century Jewish community in America, full of complex history and a necessary resilience developed after centuries of oppression. These two novels are examples of what Potok calls “core-to-core confrontation,” as his main characters experience tension between cultural expectations and their desires which appear to contradict those standards. Davita and Asher live in the complex reality of community, demonstrating that it is natural to desire various outlets of expression and still be a unified whole, and a well-rounded and grounded one at that. These combined narratives provide an in-depth picture of what it is to develop identity within a world full of false dichotomies and conflicting cultural expectations, all the while establishing the exigency for navigating these complexities with grace.