Appelfeld, Until the Dawn’s Light

In this post I would like to focus on an aspect of Appelfeld’s novel that wasn’t yet touched on in tutorial. The reoccurring ¬†allusion to the body as being an extension of the mind and spirit was something that I found particularly interesting in my reading. What brought my attention to this theme was the repetitive use of the word “movement” and I wondered about the implications of such repetition. Toward the end of the novel, the reader is told that, “Blanca’s life seemed to have slowly disintegrated. First her conversation, then the hasty marriage, and immediately afterword, her mother’s death. In those two ceremonies and in the funeral, parts of her soul were amputated. And after her father’s disappearance, her body was emptied of all its will” (218). I feel that this passage summarizes the way in which Blanca slowly loses touch with her mind (she has ended her studies, she in no longer immersed in books, silence overcomes the ease with which she once made conversation), her body (she is beaten and raped, she becomes ill, she is pushed beyond her physical limits w/ expectations at work and at home), and her soul (she has no ties to her ancestry, the family around her dies, she is Jewish yet feels out of place when confronted with Jewish spirituality). The body appeared to me to act as a vehicle of the mind in this novel; as Blanca moves farther from the person she once was mentally she continually describes a feeling of disconnectedness with her physical being. What is ironic however, is that as Blanca progressively loses touch with her physical and mental “self” she also seems to become stronger and more confident. I found the shift in Blanca’s perception of self to be both interesting and puzzling as it immedietely reflected for me a sort of spiritual journey or connection with an other-worldly power- this is of course a controversial issue in terms of Blanca’s character and the decisions she makes. I would love to hear what the rest of the class’s thoughts are on this.





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