In The Bronze Bow, how are the boys in Daniel and Joel's band alike and different?

Quick answer:

Daniel, Joel, Nathan, Kemuel, and Joktan all come from different backgrounds and have different personalities and talents. Some of them are poor, some rich. Some have specific reasons for desiring revenge upon the Romans, while others are more idealistic. All of these young men, however, are committed to the Zealot cause of freeing the Jews from Roman oppression.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Elizabeth George Speare's novel The Bronze Bow, Daniel and the boys who join his band all consider themselves Zealots. As such, they deplore the oppression of the Jewish people by the Romans, and they are determined to do whatever they must to end it, even if they have to fight for their freedom.

Daniel's dedication to the Zealot cause stems from the crucifixion of his father by the Romans. Even as an eight-year-old, he vows revenge, and by the time he is thirteen, he is living on the mountain with Rosh and his band of outlaws. When his grandmother dies, however, Daniel returns to his village of Ketzah to care for his sister, Leah, and work as a blacksmith. Daniel is a strong young man, talented at his work and dedicated to his cause, but he has a streak of hatred in him that gives him a sharp tongue, a scowling face, and occasionally a tendency towards violence. He is, however, a natural leader, and the other boys look to him for guidance.

Joel comes from a wealthy family. Although trained as a sandal maker, he has dreams of becoming a rabbi, and he studies the Scriptures deeply and finds in them reasons for his Zealot beliefs. He is the spiritual force in the group, always ready with a reading from the Hebrew Bible (and often an explanation of it) to encourage his friends. Joel is quite clever and easily comes up with schemes to accomplish whatever the group sets out to do. He even enjoys going “under cover” as a fishmonger to discover information.

Nathan is a young man who becomes a Zealot after his father takes a job as a tax collector to support their family. Nathan's friends attack and beat him for his father's action, for a tax collector is viewed as a collaborator with the Romans and a traitor to the Jews. Nathan's bitterness leads him to join Daniel's band of Zealots. He remains active even after he marries.

Kemuel, like Joel, comes from a wealthy family in Capernaum. He is an idealistic, fiery young man who says he is “tired of words” and has “no use for children's games” (160). He wants action against the Romans as soon as possible. Daniel isn't sure about Kemuel at first, for he senses that Kemuel is “used to having his own way,” and he notices “an edge of disdain” in the young man's face and voice (160). Kemuel, however, while impatient, is willing to commit to Daniel's band of Zealots, and he becomes a loyal member.

Joktan was a member of Rosh's band of outlaws before coming to live with Daniel. He is a “skinny twelve-year-old” with a noticeable stutter, but he is eager and willing to do all he can to help Daniel's group of Zealots (41). Joktan becomes Daniel's apprentice and almost a younger brother. He is brave, cheerful, and loyal, ready to do everything from drawing water at the well to helping Daniel in the blacksmith shop to running errands to serving as a lookout in a raid.

Daniel, Joel, Nathan, Kemuel, and Joktan are joined by several other young men from the area. They all come from different backgrounds and different family situations, but they are all committed to the Zealot cause to drive the Romans out of their land.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In what ways are the boys who joined Daniel and Joel's band in The Bronze Bow different? In what ways are they the same?

The boys who join Daniel's and Joel's bands of zealots are similar in that they all share the same goal: to drive the hated Romans out of Israel once and for all. In order to achieve that end, they're prepared to make enormous sacrifices, in some cases leaving behind their loved ones and taking huge risks with their lives. If any of these young men are caught by the Romans, their remaining time on this earth will be decidedly unpleasant, to say the least.

The main difference between the boys in each group stems largely from personality differences between Daniel and Joel. Whereas Daniel is more active, Joel is much more of a thinker than a doer. That's not to say that he and his men aren't actively engaged in rebellion against the Romans, it's just that they tend to rely more on brains than brawn. We can see this when Joel disguises himself as a servant in the marketplace in order to gather intelligence. This way, he gets to find out about the Romans' movements.

The members of Daniel's group are much more likely to engage in hand-to-hand combat than Joel's boys. Like Daniel, most of them have had quite hard upbringings, so they are used to engaging in fisticuffs. For most of them, physical violence is second nature.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on