Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 223

Themes of Tzili include education, survival, and nature.

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Tzili finds her strength in nature. She isn't good at the things her family values, but after they flee, she finds that she can draw strength to survive from the world itself. She gets warmth from cows and food from the earth; she grows stronger as she walks and roams and bathes in the streams. Many of Tzili's peaceful or happy moments in the novel come from her experience with nature.

Education is another major theme in the novel. Tzili isn't good at traditional learning—either in school or in her religious studies—and this means that her family doesn't value her. She's also demeaned by her classmates. Ultimately, though, her inner strength and knowledge of the world help her escape the Nazis and flee Europe, while the people with the strengths her family valued are killed.

Survival is another theme throughout the book. Tzili survives where her family likely does not. Mark, a concentration camp escapee who left his wife and children behind, survives but is eaten with guilt and unable to live a happy life. Tzili travels with other survivors who fight and don't look out for each other. Ultimately, a woman who helped look out for her—Linda—is the person she escapes to Palestine with at the end of the novel.

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