In chapter 5, Asher changes a great deal from the way that he has been normally acting throughout most of the story. The major event that takes place in this chapter, is when he draws a picture of the Rebbe in his Chumash. This is a very disrespectful offense, and being the son of someone who works directly for the Rebbe, it’s very suprising. Asher starts to turn more rebellious in a way, and does this by refusing to pay attention to anyone. No matter what they may have to say, Asher seems to be in his own world, concentrating on what is important to him, and him only. This is what frightens both his parents and the mashpia. They are concerned that Asher’s art brings him to a selfish state of mind, that he is only concerned for his own interests, and not for those of the people around him.
Asher doesn’t want to leave New York to go with his parents to Vienna. He wants to stay with the people he knows and in the community he loves. he more the book goes on, the stronger this feeling becomes inside of him. He doesn’t understand why his parents are taking away “his street,” and forcing him to move to a new one in a strange place, one that won’t make him feel comfortable. When he talks about the move to the mashpia, he starts to cry, showing that his compliance to go with him is purely out of loyalty to his parents, and doesn’t give him and ounce of emotional happiness inside. I think that this move is having a profound effect on his attitude towards people.
The fact that his interest in art is coming back, I think, is also derived from the upcoming move. I think that he feels art is the only thing that he can really do to express the way he feels. No one listens to his feelings, they all just tell him, “What are we going to do with you Asher?” I think that his art is a better escape for him than talking to any person would ever be. But towards the end of the chapter, I feel that he is starting to give in to all he’s heard from his parents and other people. He starts contemplating whether or not his art is evil. He ends up stealing some supplies so that he could try out oil painting. Ironically, he steals it from Yudel Krinsky’s store, after they have such a close, honest relationship. He only does it because he cannot afford to buy the supplies. The curiosity to experiment with this new medium is so intense that he stoops to this level just to try it. He tries to paint with the new tools, and cant get anything to stick to the canvas, he gets frustrated and his own conscience brings the stolen items back to the store. Asher is in a stateof confusion. He doesn’t know if he should listn to the people that are telling him that art is wrong, or if he should listen to himself and keep doing it because it’s something that he enjoys. He’s not really sure if the talent he has comes from the Ribbono Shel Olom, or the other side.
There are once again many forces effecting Asher’s life at this time. The move is having a big impact on the way he interacts wih people, and he way he thinks about things to himself. He may not show it openly, but in the rare event that he does, one can see that moving to Vienna is a very troubling idea to Asher. His art will be changed by thing dramatic move, and he won’t be able to feel comfortable about him self, or much anything else for that matter, for quite some time. He doesn’t want to loose the things that he is used too, but unfortunately, he seems to have no choice in this. He must deal with the situation whether he likes it or not. He does this at the expence of his own feelings.