Like Potok's other novels, My Name Is Asher Lev deals with the conflict between differing cultural values. This time the conflict is between Judaism, and in particular, Hasidism, with its distrust for art, and the Western artistic tradition. The novel also deals with the conflict between a father and a son (who wishes to become an artist) and between the budding artist and his Jewish community. Another theme in the novel is the role of the past, which both in dreams and in daylight remains a vital part of the protagonist's life. All of these themes relate to the novel's concern with self-realization — the process of finding one's identity and fulfilling one's potential.
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