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The Cellist Of Sarajevo: The Struggle To Maintain Humanity In An Inhuman Place

1452 words - 6 pages

Mankind's Essential Illness : The Struggle For Humanity"We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings" (BookRags, 1) - Albert Einstein. This quote is particularly true, since it is very important to maintain what identifies us as human beings, especially during horrific times, such as war. The Cellist of Sarajevo, a novel by Steven Galloway, delivers an interesting story by using internal conflict of the three characters, to demonstrate a theme, of the great possibilities of regaining humanity with the belief of a better life and a brighter future, thus revealing that finding hope is crucial for the survival of humanity.To begin with, the internal conflict of Arrow is expressed through, the battle of her memory and her life in reality, which act upon her, affecting her personality and thus transforming her throughout the story. In the beginning of the book, Arrow was a cold-hearted girl who "can kill anyone [...] whenever she chooses" (Galloway, 9). But when she was about to take the action of killing, her memories stepped in and revealed that she was a girl who "felt an enveloping happiness to be alive" (Galloway, 11), who was naive and believed that "someday [life] would all come to an end" (Galloway, 11). But due to the dark influence of war, Arrow was misled when she "first picked up a rifle to kill" (Galloway, 13) and as a result, losing humanity instead of preserving it.But her world turned around when she was assigned to protect the cellist. She heard the music, and had bright imaginations of the future where "[she's] in a movie theatre, a boy she likes kisses her and puts his hand on her stomach" (Galloway, 75). The fact that when Arrow is influenced by music, and that there are still love in her heart, shows that humanity is still present within herself. As she hears more music, she gradually gains more and more humanity, until a point where Arrow expresses what she really thinks, by saying that "[she's] almost always tired [of killing]" (Galloway, 75). When Arrow claimed "I'm not going to kill [him], [...] I know exactly what I'm doing" (Galloway, 226-7), the readers should have a clearer feeling of humanity coming back to Arrow, since she did the right thing for the city by disobeying her officer and refusing to kill anymore. In the end, Arrow finally reunites with her true self, known as Alisa, still imagining a beautiful future of "[going] on to graduate school, [having] a good job, [living] in a nice apartment and [going] to the theatres in the evenings with her friends" (Galloway, 257). This is where she completely understands that killing isn't the solution in any condition. This is also where she is full of humanity again, where she is willing to sacrifice herself, willing to pay the price of life to stop things from getting worst. The hope delivered through the cellist's actions, successfully changes Arrow from a cold-blooded, ruthless killing machine back to the adolescent that is excited and positive...

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