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Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay develops the theme of escapism on many levels. In the third chapter, for instance, we have the words of Kronblum who came to Josef's rescue when he tried a dangerous escape stunt that almost resulted in his brother's and his death:
Forget about what you are escaping from. Reserve your anxieties for what you are escaping to.
This quote appears on page 57 in my edition, but it is mentioned first in Chapter 2, page 21. Here Josef repeats his mentor's words when he is embarking on a journey to escape Nazi-invaded Prague. Here he must succeed in his escape "trick" in order to survive. Indeed, this maneuver is just as dangerous as his earlier childhood experiment because it involves taking the place of the Golem in a casket and freeing himself Houdini-like.
Sammy, who lives in the US, dreams of escaping his overbearing mother. As a polio-strickened child, he longs to travel with his father--the Mighty Molecule, a circus performer. Even though his father abandoned his family, and Sammy sees him only briefly, Sammy still entertains hopes that his father will take him with him. Sammy's dreams of escape are crushed when he finds out about his father's death:
"One night, about a year before Joe Kavalier's arrival, a telegram had come with word that . . .Alter Klayman had been crushed and with him Sammy's fondest hope, in the act of escaping from his life, of working with a partner." (page 108)
This quote shows two kinds of escape--Sammy's crushed hope to escape to a world of adventure, and his father's literally crushed body that resulted from his escape from his domestic responsibilities.
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