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Circumstances Are Beyond Human Control, But Our Conduct Is In Our Own Power (Benjamin Disraeli)

906 words - 4 pages

People change gradually through every day, peaceful experiences; however, others change quickly because a radical life event forces them to. An extraordinary event, such as a war, can alter people in sudden, permanent, and often negative ways. In The Cellist of Sarajevo, written by Steven Galloway, the three main characters, Dragan, Arrow, and Kenan, were living happy, ordinary lives doing ordinary, pleasant things such as taking the tram and buying ice cream. During the siege of Sarajevo, they were obligated to kill, risk their lives, and live in fear. War forces people to ignore what they want and do what they need. Each of the three main characters, Kenan, Arrow, and Dragan, had their ...view middle of the document...

Before the war, Arrow enjoyed life and valued it very much. In the beginning of the book, Arrow had a flashback: "tears began to slide down her cheeks [...] because she felt an enveloping happiness to be alive" (11, Galloway). This quote illustrates her upbeat outlook on life before the war. She becomes a killer out of necessity as the army recruited her. As a result, Arrow was forced to fight and kill the men on the hills. Arrow changed her name from Alisa to Arrow because "[she is] Arrow, because [she hates] them. The woman you knew hated nobody." (Galloway, 13). 'Arrow' becomes her symbol and allows her to kill the men on the hills, while retaining her humanity. All that Arrow wanted to do throughout the whole war is return to her prior life. Flashbacks of her childhood such as: "she's no longer [in her unit commander's office]. Her mother is lifting her up, spinning her around and laughing" (Galloway, 74), show her desire for her old life. Arrow had to leave Alisa behind and become 'Arrow'. The siege of Sarajevo caused Kenan, Arrow, and Dragan to yearn for their previous lives.
Before the siege of Sarajevo, Dragan was an ordinary baker and a loving father. The war drastically changed his life as he was forced to live in a decimated city with his sister and her husband without his wife and son. Dragan, like Arrow and Kenan, must battle himself and adapt to the new circumstances. Seeing Sarajevo in ruins caused him to go into a state of mental shock, but he was forced to adapt to the...

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