How to Survive: My Name is Asher Lev Study Questions - Book One
1. List the elements of Jewish beliefs which help shape Asher Lev’s personality.
a. any man who causes a single soul to perish, it’s as if he causes the whole world to perish – 11
b. the Rebbe is the authority figure
c. family and the community is central to the people
d. it is important to serve for the Ladover Jews and help one another
e. responsibility is passed down through birth
2. List the important characters Book 1 and describe them and their relationships to Asher.
a. Rivkeh Lev – mom, studies in college
b. Aryeh Lev – dad, travels for the Rebbe
c. Rebbe – the authority/central figure in the Hadover Jewish faith
d. Uncle Yaakov – Rivkeh’s brother, dies traveling for the Rebbe
e. Uncle Yitzchok – offers to buy Asher’s painting
f. Aunt Leah
g. Mrs. Rackover – housekeeper type figure in Asher’s home
h. Udel Krinsky – brought to Brooklyn from Russia, provides Asher with knowledge of events throughout the world
3. What events seem to shape Asher’s view of the world?
a. mom’s sickness as a result of brother’s death
b. meeting Reb Udel Krinsky and talking to him
c. his mom decides to study and his father decides to travel again
d. the death of Stalin
e. the Rebbe asks for his family to move to Vienna
4. Trace Asher’s development as an artist from pre-school years to the age of 10.
a. What kinds of subjects does he choose to paint?
i. four – draws mom and dad in real-life actions
ii. five – tells dad a drawing is not foolishness - 12
iii. six – draws black and red swirls bec realizes that the world isn’t pretty, and he wants to draw what is real; tries to use elements of light/dark
iv. draws a negative pic of the Rebbe in his Chumash after learning his father is sent to Vienna
b. What details indicate he has a gift?
i. uses sand to make drawing of shore look realistic
ii. uses ashes from cigarette to create shadows and make drawings – 34
iii. sees world in a different perspective – lines/shapes/light
iv. draws without realizing that he is doing it
c. What does he want to do with his art?
i. show the world and what is real
ii. “I would put all the world into light and shade, bring life to all the wide and tired world. It did not seem an impossible thing to do.” - 36
d. List both positive and negative things that come from his art.
i. positive – it is a way for Asher to release his emotions and is an outlet
ii. negative – he distances himself form the ones that he loves, he is impelled to steal, he stops thinking of how his art affects others and the pain that it brings
5. Why can’t Asher leave his street?
a. there are the obvious reasons of childhood insecurities and a fear of the unknown
b. he feels like he has to be able to draw his own street successfully to prove to himself his ability before he can move on and draw something new
posted by tnt --- kevin