My Name Is Asher Lev Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Asher requests to live with which character while Aryeh and Rivkeh are in Europe?

2. Which person's picture is on the wall in every classroom at Asher's school?

3. Who is the Rebbe's chief of staff?

4. In what language does Asher's school teach religion classes?

5. In Chapter 4, when Asher goes to Yudel Krinsky to ask him about Russian Jewish history, what is Yudel eating?

Short Essay Questions

1. Out of a deep longing to learn to use oil paints, Asher steals several tubes of oil paint and several brushes from Yudel Krinsky's store. What does he do with them? Why do you think he does this?

2. According to the mashpia's instructions, there are three types of Jews. List the types and explain them briefly.

3. What does Asher know about his paternal grandfather?

4. In Chapter 6 as Rivkeh and Asher adjust to life on their own, Rivkeh begins to talk about her grief over Yaakov's death. Which people in her life died prematurely, and how did she feel when that happened?

5. Why does Rivkeh want to enter the university?

6. At the end of Chapter 3, Asher draws a picture of Stalin in his notebook without realizing it. What do you think is happening in Asher's mind when he draws things without being aware of it?

7. When Aryeh returns to Brooklyn for the Pesach, how does he treat Asher?

8. Why does Asher ask Yudel Krinsky questions about Russia?

9. Explain the class's and the teacher's reactions to Asher's drawing in a Chumash. Why do you think they react in this way?

10. During Asher's struggles against going to Vienna, he asks why no one is listening to him. Rivkeh replies, "Everyone is listening. [...] There would be no problem if no one were listening to you, Asher." Explain what Rivkeh means by this statement.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

By the end of the book, the Rebbe believes that Asher has gone too far in his artwork and is now hurting those who love him, although he claims to understand Asher's work. Do you think the Rebbe would have preferred Asher to stay within the acceptable limits of the Ladover Hasidic faith? What do you imagine a reasonable Ladover Hasidic artist would paint? Try to imagine and explain some symbols other than the crucifixion that Asher could have used to convey ultimate suffering, symbols that would have been better received by Asher's community.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the novel, the question arises whether Asher's art is from the Ribbono shel olom, which is a name for God, or from the sitra achra, which is a name for the forces of evil. Asher himself wonders at various times what the source of his art is. Provide some reasons why Asher's art may possibly come from each source, and then explain whether you think Asher's art sides with good or with evil. If you think his art is completely neutral, explain why. Use specific examples from the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast Aryeh Lev's reaction and Yitzchok Lev's reaction to the art Asher creates as a child and teenager. How do you think you would respond if a member of your family chose to do something against everyone's expectations?

(see the answer keys)

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