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Vine And Fence Essay

1450 words - 6 pages

Vine and Fence
World War II has destroyed an unbelievable number of families in Poland, but many children did not give up. Anne Michaels’ novel “Fugitive Pieces” introduces us to a Jewish boy that lost his family in the Second World War. Even though, the book was written years after the war, it provides us with a good understanding of the emotional chaos many people experienced. Nevertheless, this book also tells the story of a relationship that develops in the heat of the war. Athos and Jakob were two very different characters who were brought together, forgetting the pain of their pasts and starting new lives.
Athos Roussos, a Greek geologist, finds Jakob a 7-year-old Jewish boy from ...view middle of the document...

However, the reader will start to understand that both of them depend on each other. Jakob does not only need help to escape from the Nazi soldiers that are trying to kill him, but he also needs guidance for his life after losing his entire family. Athos takes on the role of being a teacher and mentor as well as a father to Jakob. Michaels describes Jakob’s feelings towards Athos as “To share a hiding place, physical or psychological, is as intimate as love. I followed Athos from one room to the other” (Pg. 20). A typical behavior for children as they see their parents in a protective role. The knowledge that their parents are around makes them feel save. For example, a little boy that crawls into his parents’ bed after a nightmare. Inside he knows that his parents cannot protect him from bad dreams, but it still provides him with a feeling of security. Jakob spends most of his time on the island thinking about his parents and his sister. Especially, his sister stays in his memory because he does not know whether the Nazis killed her or whether she is still alive. He misses her, but the memory of her is very painful to him. Only Athos’ stories that fascinate Jakob more than everything else can distract him from the pain of his past. Athos quickly realizes the problem of Jakob’s missing sister and offers him his help. He promises Jakob that he will search for his sister and keeps on searching until three month before he dies. The reader does not get to know if Athos is really searching for Bella until Jakob opens up Athos’ private drawer after his death. In that drawer Athos keeps his most valuable belongings. Jakob finds the letters to Helen (Athos dead wife), a photograph of her and newspaper cuttings of his search for Bella. This situation takes away the feeling that Athos wants Jakob to forget about his family in order to replace his father. Athos really wants to help Jakob with his life and the memories of his painful past from the moment he found him.
Athos helps Jakob so much with his life, but their relationship is not one-sided. Athos does not depend less on Jakob’s help. Nonetheless, he depends on him from a different perspective. Athos lost his beloved wife Helen after only five years of marriage. After her death, Athos becomes a broken soul that just lives for his work and with no real meaning in life. Helen’s death leaves a big gap in his life. This gap is finally filled by the love to Jakob. Kostas, a friend of Athos, describes in a conversation with Jakob “Athos becomes very sad, you know, he can be sad for long months and there may be times when he will need you to take care of him” (Pg. 78). Jakob does not know that he himself has taken care of Athos since the day they met. The reader will think back after reading Kostas comment and will notice there is no time in which Athos is really sad. He was fully alive telling Jakob various stories...

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