Themes and Meanings
The principal theme of the novel is the passion of the Jews to establish their homeland, where they can live in dignity and freedom. Indeed, this is the focus of the entire novel, and all other themes are tributaries to this mighty central conviction. The book becomes an epic of the founding of a nation, with the heroics appropriate to an epic. The scale is vast, spanning centuries of time, from the dispersal of the Jews two thousand years ago to the year 1949, when Israel not only was established but also won itsright to existence through battle. The religious theme of fulfillment of prophecy is emphasized repeatedly. The revival of the use of the Hebrew language also demonstrates the theme of historical continuity and hope sustained over the centuries of hardship.
The narrative structure, using principal characters as vehicles to introduce and develop the historical background of the Jewish people in the lands of Europe and the Middle East, effectively keeps the plot alive and moving, though this method results in an excess of exposition and information. The themes of justice and injustice, cruelty and kindness, callousness and compassion, revenge and pardon, are all developed within the actions of the individual characters and as motifs inspiring the broader historical narrative.