Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Tzili Kraus

Tzili Kraus, a young, provincial Jewish girl, plain, quiet, and not very bright. Tzili is disliked by her family for her lack of intelligence. When the Nazi troubles begin, her family decides that she is so simple that no one will bother her, so they leave Tzili behind when they try to make their escape. Although she is simple, Tzili has an innate sense of survival (such as saying that the town prostitute Maria, who is not Jewish, is her mother) that other Jews lack; no matter what troubles befall her, she goes on living in her undemanding, almost heedless, way—even when, near the end of the book, she sees Jewish survivors of concentration camps committing suicide around her. The novel follows her journey as she seems to survive accidentally, her pregnancy that ends in a stillborn child, and finally her decision to go to Palestine.

The old blind man

The old blind man, who sits in the fields all day. He gives Tzili some food but then tries to rape her.

The religious teacher

The religious teacher, a Jewish tutor who is brought in by Tzili’s family to teach her religion because they believe she is too stupid to learn anything more worthwhile. Although he did not feel affectionate toward Tzili, he was not cruel to her, so she remembers him as a kind man. The prayers she learned from him serve to comfort her while she is hiding in the countryside.


(The entire section is 588 words.)