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The Cellist of Sarajevo Conflict Analysis
Transcript of The Cellist of Sarajevo Conflict Analysis
"As he looks at the camera, however, Dragan realizes that he missed the point. It doesn't matter what the world thinks of his city. All that matters is what he thinks. In the Sarajevo of his memory, it was completely unacceptable to have a dead man lying in the street. In the Sarajevo of today it's normal. He has been living in neither, has tried to live in a city that no longer exists, refusing to participate in the one that does." (234) "He begins to work his
way towards the Cumurija Bridge,
where two bottles of water without handles
wait for him in a small hole." (216) For Kenan, just the thought of leaving his family and maybe never seeing them again is enough to make him feel weak and not want to leave his home. Despite their need for water, he despises the idea of leaving the safety of his home and going out into the war. He has to decide what is more
important: his feelings and fear of dying while he is
out, or his family's need for water. For him, survival
is his family living through the siege. Main
"The Cellist of Sarajevo" "But she isn't going
to pick up the gun. It sits on the night
table partly out of habit, and partly because
she wants them to know that she was armed and could have fought back. She's not sure they'll notice this clue. It doesn't matter. It matters only that she leaves it." (257) The main conflict is a combination of both internal and external conflicts. Each character faces the difficulties presented with surviving the siege while also keeping a hold of their identities to preserve who they are. Each character must find their own definition of survival and what it means to have an identity during the siege. Each individual has their own perception of how to achieve these things, but not all the characters have the same strength or the will to work towards them. Not only is avoiding injury important, but their individual experiences and how they pursue their identities determines whether they
truly live through the war or not. "If they persist, she tells them her name is Arrow now. No one argues. No one questions what she must do. Everyone does something to stay alive. But if they were to press her, she would say, "I am Arrow, because I hate them. The woman you knew hated nobody."" (13) ARROW ARROW DRAGAN DRAGAN DRAGAN KENAN KENAN KENAN "Arrow takes her finger off the trigger, looks up at Hasan. "I'm not going to kill an unarmed civilian." Hasan turns to her. "You'll kill who I tell you to kill."
Arrow shakes her head. "No."
Hasan slides down from the window. "What do you think this is, some sort of game?"" (224) This is the major turning point for Arrow. While she had been killing the men on the hills throughout the book, she had never killed someone who she deemed to be harmless. When she decides to go against her new commander's orders, she knows she is sealing her fate. She makes the decision to live the way
she would if she wasn't in the centre of a war. She
pursues her identity by returning to the ideals of Alisa,
instead of the ideals of Arrow, the sniper. This picture represents
Arrow's refusal to shoot
the civilian because it includes
Hasan's comment about it being
a "game", as well the game Risk
is all about war, and collecting and protecting territory. In a way, the whole siege is like the game Risk for Arrow; she has to defend her home, and protect it from the men on the hills. The name is also
representative of the risk Arrow is taking when she doesn't follow orders. When she
defies Hasan, she knows she is risking her life, but she is doing so for a good reason: she is protecting the civilian as well as her own identity. By refusing to shoot the man she believes to be a civilian, she
is following her morals and she isn't changing because of what someone
else tells her to do. This is the point when Dragan really realizes that living with the war is ruining the city of Sarajevo. He realizes that he has been ignoring what is going on around him, and that he and everyone else in Sarajevo have come to accept the war. He decides that he is no longer going to just live with the killing and death. For Dragan, he has a bit of an internal struggle when he decides to run into the road to pull the hatless man's body away from the cameraman's view. He has to get over his fear of being shot by the sniper in order to embrace his new ideals of living as if there is no war. This demonstrates how his internal conflicts affect the way external conflicts affect him. He realized that he and all the other people had given up on civilization ever returning to Sarajevo, and had just accepted that they were living during the war. This part in Arrow's story is when she finally accepts that she could no longer be Arrow if she wanted to return to being Alisa. The men who have come to kill her would probably see her sitting on the bed with a gun on her night table as her giving up and surrendering herself to them, but for Arrow it shows that she accepts her death as well as hate she had felt toward the men on the hills as Arrow. She knew she had exhausted her alter-ego and could no longer live in Sarajevo and be Arrow the sniper. By her revealing her real name in the last sentence of the book shows that she can finally embrace Arrow's anger and hatred, but that she truly kept Arrow and Alisa separate people, which was her whole reason for becoming Arrow. Her survival during the siege was based on her ability to keep Alisa alive within her despite
living as Arrow. Like most popular superheroes, Alisa had Arrow as an alter ego during the siege. She used the persona of Arrow in order to keep the person she was before the war separate from the person she was during the war. This was important to her because Arrow was able to justify killing the men on the hills, while Alisa would never have killed anyone. The Batman mask is a symbol of this because Bruce Wayne uses it to keep his
identity hidden when he is fighting
crime. Although Arrow doesn't have a
physical mask, she uses Arrow
as a figurative mask that
she uses to protect
Alisa's identity. This horse with blinders is a symbol for how Dragan was able to ignore what was going on around him and just focus on what he had to do each day. Until this point in the story, he had just gone with the flow and accepted the siege. When he finally "took the blinders off" and really saw what was happening in the city he used to love, he was inspired to look forward to Sarajevo after the siege and live as if there wasn't
a war going on. "Dragan smiles as he passes an elderly man. The man doesn't meet his gaze, keeps his eyes on the ground.
"Good afternoon," Dragan says, his voice bright.
The man looks up. He seems surprised.
"Good afternoon," Dragan repeats.
The man nods, and wishes him the same." (251) This is a significant moment for Dragan, because he begins to embrace his own identity. Because of the war, he had turned into a man that didn't talk to anyone, and was very reclusive. After his decision to live more like he did before the war, he returns to making small gestures like wishing someone a good afternoon when he passes them in the street. In Sarajevo, the siege caused people to forget about common courtesy and traditional gestures that people do every day. These photos of a high-five
and a hand shake are examples of things that
were neglected because of the impact of the
war. Dragan began to greet people the way
that he would if it were a regular day in
Sarajevo. They represent Dragan's
return to living life before the war
as well as his return to being the
friendly, warm person he was
prior to the siege. "It's things like this that
make him the coward he is, unable to
help the wounded at a massacre, or a relatively unharmed man searching for a dog. He didn't help the man look, or look himself, or even think about looking... Fear has paralyzed him as surely as a bullet to the spine, and he simply doesn't have what it takes to go back. Shame soaks through him." (167-168) "Not because he
thought anything through, but
because he was afraid. If that makes him a coward, he's comfortable calling himself a coward. He isn't built for war. He doesn't want to be built for war." (181) This idea of cowardice is something that Dragan struggles with throughout the book. He feels that he is a coward because he was afraid to get shot, when that really isn't something to be ashamed of. Everyone in Sarajevo was afraid of getting shot, but some people are more able to jump into action without over thinking things. Dragan accepting the thought that he was a coward not only discouraged him from improving his situation, but also from coming to the realization that he will be more able to accept his previous
identity if he lives beyond the siege. The Cowardly Lion is a very obvious symbol for cowardice and overcoming it to gain courage. It may be a cliché, but the Cowardly Lion is a good demonstration of Dragan's identity.
While he seems to be a coward during
the siege, the strength he uses to overcome
his instincts and risk his life for someone
who is already dead proved his
courage as well as his determination
to return Sarajevo to
its glory from before
the siege. "As the door to the apartment closes behind him he presses his back to it and slides to the ground. His legs are heavy, his hands cold. He doesn't want to go... They must not see him like this. They must not know how afraid he is, how useless he is, how powerless he has become." (26) For the two men in this book, cowardice is an important theme. To Kenan, the fact that he started telling himself jokes when he was nervous and scared for his life made him feel ashamed. He started comparing himself to his friend who had fought on the front lines. It was an innocent thought that was his way of taking his mind off the danger that
constantly surrounded him. It affected his identity
because it made him question his strength as well
as who he was becoming as a result of the
siege. Kenan's journey to the brewery is exhausting, and not only does he have to carry enough water for his family of five, he also promised his elderly neighbour, Mrs.Ristovski, that whenever he went to get water, he would take her water jugs as well. He gets so frustrated with the old lady's bottles, because they are very inconvenient to carry due to the fact that they don't have handles. He actually leaves them at a bridge before he crosses and decides to give up carrying them. Kenan had kept his promise from a time when water flowed from the sinks in every home, and he felt that because he was now under different circumstances, he could disregard his previous pact with his neighbour. Eventually, his morals take over and he realizes that he was becoming someone he didn't want to be because of the influence and stress of the war. He returns to get her water because he wants to be the kind of person that will be rebuilding Sarajevo, someone who is kind, friendly an loyal. This is when she chose to become Arrow to protect Alisa from what she was going to do during the war. She almost creates a second personality to preserve who she was prior to the war. This quote shows what Arrow felt she had to do to stay alive through the siege. For Arrow, survival was her ability to keep Alisa separate from the war and killing, as well as keeping her independent from Arrow so
if she manages to live through the war, she won't have her past to drag her down or come back to haunt her. Kenan, despite his fear of dying, needs to be the provider for his family. For him, it is important that his children don't see his weakness and his worry that he might not come home. He needs to be a superhero for his family, not only to be able to provide for them, but also to give them
hope and the belief that they will live
through the siege. He needs to
encourage them to stay positive
through the terror of the war. A shield demonstrates the idea of Arrow protecting her identity of Alisa as well as hiding from the things she has done. She used the identity of Arrow to shield Alisa from the horrors the war and the hatred she felt for the men she killed. Her main reason for creating this second identity was so she could "...separate the part of her that will fight back, that will enjoy fighting back, from the part that never wanted to fight in the first place." (13). Having the opportunity to have two opposite identities allowed Arrow to fight without it affecting who she was before the war (in theory). Dogs are commonly
seen as "man's best friend"
or "man's loyal companion",
which is what Kenan has to be. Not
only does he have to be loyal to his family, he also has to be loyal to his neighbour and keep his promise to bring her water from the brewery. While he does contemplate giving up his loyalty to Mrs.Ristovski, his devotion to himself and his ethics makes him turn around and get the water bottles he had hidden before he crossed the bridge. By doing this, he kept a hold of his personality
and maintained his integrity despite the
harsh situation. I chose the interactive format of the Prezi
because it allowed the viewer to understand the direction
of my thoughts; from the main conflict, to the characters, to their individual struggles, and finally the symbols that demonstrate each of these struggles. The way it is laid out, surrounding the central conflict, shows how all the characters' stories connect, despite them never actually interacting in the novel. The idea of external conflicts affecting internal conflicts is a major topic that is depicted throughout. The idea that what happens to the characters and how they react to their situation has a large influence on their identity is very brilliantly described and demonstrated by Steven Galloway, which gives the reader insight as to how people in this kind of desperate situation would truly behave. The contrasting characters also let the reader think for themselves and determine why they think each character ended the story the way they did, and what impact the siege had on them. Steven Galloway's use of a real-life
event inspires stronger and more intimate feelings in the
reader, giving them a connection to the characters
that they might not have had if it was
purely fictional. I chose to use the commonly used compare/contrast saying of "comparing apples to oranges" to demonstrate Kenan's thoughts. Kenan compares himself to his friend, but they are two completely different people who had chosen different paths in life. His friend volunteered to fight, while Kenan made the choice to protect his family instead, both being very noble things to do when your city is constantly being bombed and you are always risking your life for things you had previously taken for granted, like water. His comparison left him feeling guilty that he was making a joke to himself while there were people fighting for the safety of Sarajevo. This affected him negatively, making him question his morals despite the fact that
his daydreaming might have kept him alive.