Symbolism In The Cellist Of Sarajevo

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“You don’t choose what to believe. Belief chooses you” (Galloway 14). These words introduce the recurring theme of the novel. In The Cellist of Sarajevo a delicate reality of the human condition is revealed, that when subjected to certain environmental conditions, people adopt new beliefs. The story is told through the lives and perspectives of four characters: Dragan, a senior on his way to work; Arrow, a young woman working as a lone sniper; Kenan, a forty year old father travelling to the brewery to retrieve water for his family, and the Principle Cellist of Sarajevo, whose mission becomes one of honouring the lives of 22 fallen fellow citizens. The common thread that unites these otherwise unrelated characters is the bloody siege that has overtaken their beloved city of Sarajevo, one which will ultimately claim the lives of more than 10 000 of its inhabitants. This war shakes the foundations of these characters’ value systems and forces their exploration of the acceptability of hatred, the true meaning of life and …show more content…
It can and frequently does bring about remarkable acts of humanity. Consistently, war makes a person reevaluate his/her values and beliefs. In The Cellist of Sarajevo the four main characters, Dragan, Kenan, Arrow, and the Cellist rely on their experiences to formulate their opinions: they constantly fight the urge to hate; they realize that being physically alive does not mean that one is truly living; and finally, they conclude that fear of death should not prevent a person from fighting for what he/she believes is morally right. The novel reveals that people living in a place of war, such as Sarajevo in the 1990’s, are inevitably forced to reevaluate their opinions and beliefs about matters that otherwise might not be given much thought. In essence, they struggle to understand the world around them and in so doing, come to a new awareness of the true meaning of life; they choose what to

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