Book Of Esther Analysis

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Book Of Esther Analysis

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A Summary of the Book of Esther -

It has such a powerful overall impact as a book, I really do think about it a lot. It's profound. Her lyrical and candid confessionals question and resolve how family, religion and art have shaped her, from Jewish Orthodoxy to feminist Judaism, from daughter to mother, from longing to belonging. Its honest, nuanced content can spark analysis, comparisons, and identification. Physically, the book is handsome, a hard-covered volume with silky gloss paper and full colour art. The book is a joy to read. If you are expecting cartoon-like characters, speech bubbles and lots of images on every page, you will get a surprise.

I found the drawings of the more banal subjects perhaps the most moving —a succession of pages showing the foods she eats in moments of stress or the packet of Osem chocolate covered wafers that she bought for her dying grandmother. The Book of Sarah is both a comfort and inspiration to anyone who wants to know how to belong as an artist to a family, a culture, and a religion. Lightman proves herself not simply an accomplished artist, but specifically an accomplished comics author. While the art world is full of excellent artists who could fill a similarly sized book with equally well-crafted drawings, few have the comics savvy to construct the sort of complex narratives and image-text relationships that Lightman achieves in The Book of Sarah.

It is a remarkably candid piece of work, but also remarkably sophisticated in the way it plays off word and image, makes them echo and harmonise and sometimes clash. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, having just finished The Book of Sarah. What an accomplishment this is! Necessary reading for anyone interested in graphic non-fiction, Jewish feminism, literature and motherhood, London writing— actually, just for anyone. Read it! Exploring the complexities of families, feminism, Judaism, motherhood and art this genuinely distinctive graphic narrative provides a fresh approach to autobio comics in a book that is deeply personal but always relatable.

An astounding work of insight and clarity… so eloquently expressed, especially the family's long-standing tradition of stifling ambition, autonomy and independence - thereby thwarting so much potential - that it almost broke me. It will resonate with so many, helping to show them that they're not alone. So many of us are given an identity by our tribes and families that doesn't quite fit for us and it is quite hard sometimes to find our way to who we want to be and how we want to live. This courageous graphic memoir will resonate with anyone who has grappled with this, or wants to. Through a delicate interweaving of images ranging from the architectural, loose outlines, fractured repetitions and empty spaces and text, the reader becomes immersed in this deeply considered reflection of gender and cultural identity.

In its spirit of perpetual enquiry, it is an intensely Jewish book; but the questions it asks, about being and belonging, speak to the wider concerns of twenty-first century life. The Book of Sarah is absolutely beautiful. I love the format— it seems incredibly fitting that The Book of Sarah is a visual book. The drawings and paintings are very potent. I have loved reading this book. It's packed full of the most wonderful drawings. I could quite happily keep browsing through them page by page in admiration and delight with a tinge of envy too!

Entitlement to be an artist, entitlement to be a mother, entitlement to have an equal and loving relationship. This is an important feminist book - as well as a real joy to read, and to own. I love The Book of Sarah. This is a deeply layered work, from the elegant, evocative writing to the diverse range of materials - charcoal, oil paint and watercolor as well as graphite pencil.

The Book of Sarah is a memoir that is rich with revelations for the reader to uncover. The Book of Sarah is an extraordinary treasure. The paintings and drawings are luscious and incredibly evocative, with the visceral quality of the thick paint and the layered graphite. The writing is heartfelt and honest, searching and tender. In The Book of Sarah art and words come together to chronicle a self-in-becoming: precarious and sometimes delicate, but, like a tenacious plant sending out tendrils of new growth, this memoir is simultaneously filled with powerful, gripping revelations of strength. I loved this subtle memoir about Judaism, feminism, bad dates and good books, the families we are born into and the ones we make. A stunning piece of work. The power of the book lies in the atmosphere created by a kind of distilled emotion in the words, alongside the very haunting images.

The sense of place and associated emotions are very memorable. I love Sarah's work. Visually stunning, rich, complex, nuanced and moving. So excited for this to come out. From daughter to mother, from the Slade to Hampstead, Sarah Lightman traces her journey from modern Jewish orthodoxy to feminist Judaism. Her acutely sensitive, full-page pencil drawings are accompanied by hand-written commentaries questioning how family, religion, art and life have shaped her.

Not every autobiographical comics artist is driven to create their own private book from the Bible. It is biography intertwined with hazy memory, family mythology, and some meaningful and other not-so meaningful objects which combine in a forceful way to remind the reader that our own life stories are a mixture of fact and fiction. Nor is it a book just about Jewish identity, or feminism, or mental health, or fertility and parenthood.

It is a book about how the stories about our past inevitably influence the potential of our future. What would you do if you were named after a biblical character but felt that your story was not being told, that your voice was not being heard? This is the underlying impetus for the luminous Book of Sarah, an autobiographical visual narrative by Dr Sarah Lightman, artist, curator and scholar. Many creative artists draw on their own lives and experiences for their work. Few literally draw it, and of these few, even fewer do so with the sense of nuance and fluid grace that Sarah Lightman displays. The ways in which she gives voice to the silenced, the marginalised, the unrecognised, in order to define herself, rather than simply allow herself to be shaped by the wishes and desires of others puts this firmly in the tradition of artistic resistance, of feminist midrash, but it is not only that.

The book opens with a sort of musical prelude of key themes, and an evocation of the powerful tensions between different layers or aspects of the self. The painting is surrounded by layers of text. The book invites us to participate in and experience this growth, sometimes painful, from child to artist, partner to parent. These states of seeing and being also exist simultaneously for the artist, and be extension for the reader.

The artwork throughout is beautifully reproduced so we can see every line of pencil or paint, and so feel involved in the narrative, in the sense of purpose and observation behind each image. Lightman is particularly adept at using domestic objects in an explosive, subversive way, that recalls for me poet T. These objects point in multiple directions at the same time, such as the pencil sketched apple of knowledge, of first love, p. The visible tentativeness of the pencil-line contrasts with its confident placing in the pictorial space. I had a new teapot for the occasion, it was a tea for them for all the teas they made for me.

This invitation to restore magic to the mundane, this symbolic re-enactment of the powerful meeting of generations, and of the aspects of self they represent, is also extended to the reader. The blank space often reflects anxiety, repetition, and the struggle not to be confined and defined by the mundane. It feels particularly poignant being re-read in lockdown London in There is a subtle shift as the narrative progresses, and these background spaces become filled with marks and textures, as the artist refines and defines the physical and emotional spaces around her.

Lightman is adept at evoking both faces and physical places. The psychogeography of London and New York make them characters in her story, as what she looks at, what she notices and records, vivifies these iconic cities and renders them as signifiers for her personal journey, at once real and symbolic. There is a particular tenderness in her drawings of celebrated paintings and sculptures of the Madonna and Child, a frisson at following a Jewish feminist gaze responding to the ways Western art and culture have sought to define and appropriate motherhood.

These struggles for individuation and self-definition are given greater resonance by her struggles to conceive, and the dark emotional undertow that follows her into parenthood, when she is told to smile because she has beautiful stitches. I can hardly move for tiredness. The profound intertextuality of her work, of the way she stitches together her influences and weaves them into her life, recall that of another brilliant comics artist, Alison Bechdel. Her posthumously published work is carefully depicted, and there is a double page spread of carefully drawn covers of her literary and religious inspirations pages My world is enriched, is tangibly better, because The Book of Sarah is a part of it.

Emerging from a religious childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, as a more mature adult, Sarah decides to abandon Orthodox Judaism. Nevertheless, her Jewishness is core to the development both of her life and of her graphic life narrative. Just an attempt at my own. In so doing, she points to how she is essentially an amalgam of her ancestors and how in The Book of Sarah , familial and religious pasts become conflated so as for her to be able to explain how her autobiographical subject gained and established her own voice as an artist and as a distinct member of her religious family. After the description of regrets, wrong decisions, attempts to become emancipated from her family and returns to its orbit, struggles with mental illness, failed relationships, the trauma and happiness of childbearing later in her life, and the value of being an artist, towards the end of the narrative, Lightman draws a scene from the Book of Genesis fig.

On the side, almost unnoticeable, Sarah is standing behind a semi-closed door, looking at the gathering of the men who are talking about her own fertility and future pregnancy. As such, Lightman formulates a mirroring between the biblical and the autobiographical Sarah. By telling her own life story, she also metaphorically brings that of the biblical Sarah out of the shadows. The presence of places and objects in the narrative is indeed prevalent. She talks about the death of her grandfather by zooming in on the family table she prepared afterwards. In The Book of Sarah , objects, like spaces, speak about interpersonal relationships, loss, death and life, break-ups and marriages, beloved people and distant ones.

The Book was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. Lightman spoke with the Journal about her fellow female graphic novelists, the matriarch she was named after and what she hopes to accomplish with her new work. I felt really lost so I decided to go backward and draw my childhood to understand myself. I looked at family photos and tried to understand who I was in my family by the way we were standing. I did those drawings 20 years ago.

I realized my work could fit into that world. She was basically the first autobiographical Jewish graphic novelist. Before she died in Auschwitz, she spent one year drawing her life story. Her drawings are amazing. JJ: Are there a lot of Jewish women in the comic book industry? SL: Jewish women have been making amazing work since the s, but you only remember the men. We get passed over all the time. Like me, she was also an older mum. I found more as time went on.

Once a lot of the biblical women began to become independent in the narrative, they were condemned and then ignored. Eve was condemned for wanting to learn more. Sarah is deriving power through Abraham. Sarah has power in my graphic novel. Women can take control of how other women are being presented in the arts and give them power and opportunity. I became a scribe for my own narrative. JJ: Did you draw everything at once or as you were experiencing it? SL: Apart from my childhood ones, everything was done pretty much as I lived it.

JJ: In the book, you talk about how you went from being secular to Orthodox and then to Reform. Where are you on your spiritual path today? SL : I like being in a Reform synagogue and choosing my own Jewish identity and affiliations. I like the fact that a woman is the head of the synagogue and we have a gay rabbi. My academic work and writing are how I encounter being a Jewish woman.

JJ: You also touch upon your struggles with depression. How does it feel to reveal these struggles on the page? It helps people not feel alone when they read the book. JJ: What do you hope people get out of reading your book? SL : I felt like I wanted to be myself in my book. The front cover has a painting on it, which is not like a typical graphic novel. Doing it that way was a bit brave and a breakthrough. I figured out what I wanted to do for me, and that was fine. Finding your own way is a totally legitimate way to do things. Raised in an observant Jewish household, Sarah Lightman realized that her biblical namesake, matriarch of her people, did not have a book of the bible named for her.

In recognition and remedy, Lightman has named her book The Book of Sarah. The book is an idiosyncratic coming of age memoir in words and pictures, beginning at age ten. Physically, the book is handsome, a hard-covered volume with silky gloss paper and full color art. A dual exploration, of heritage and self, informs the work. But she questioned her own endeavor. As a young woman, she had a chance to live in New York, but still did not feel a sense of agency. How much of her timidity was fostered by her upbringing?

The author also has had to wrestle with periodic bouts of depression. She makes them speak to the reader as well. Images of houses and apartments, book covers, and objects reverberate with emotion. A set of dining room chairs elucidates a family dynamic. A recurring trope of water glasses at half-mast cleverly illustrates emotional undercurrents. A series of self-portraits exposes fixations and depression. Sarah Lightman has built a reputation as an expert on Jewish women graphic artists, writing a PhD on the subject, curating exhibitions and lecturing around the world.

Now, after many years in preparation, her own graphic novel, The Book of Sarah, has been published. But if you are expecting cartoon-like characters, speech bubbles and lots of images on every page, you will get a surprise. I draw like an artist. It is transgressive of comics. And then I would travel on the tube to the Slade and show my drawings of my own life story. With siblings named Daniel and Esther, she questioned why both of their biblical namesakes had books named after them, but her namesake, the matriarch Sarah, did not.

Most of the chapters reflect those in the Bible. Lightman goes into surprisingly personal details about her life including her failed relationships and some truly terrible dates. Several pages are filled with drawings of plastic cups of water, filled to different levels which represent her meetings with her therapist. Under each glass are snippets of what she discussed in therapy. When she meets her husband Charlie, she confides in her anxieties about both her wedding and her fertility.

When her son Harry is born, she alternates between recounting her love of her new son and the drawbacks of motherhood, including a very graphic image of her Caesarean scar. The book ends on a positive note with a chapter called Revelations, which has Lightman preparing to give up her autobiographical drawings for painting. Distilled from hundreds of intensely beautiful diary drawings into a compelling narrative of identity, The Book of Sarah is both a comfort and inspiration to anyone who wants to know how to belong as an artist to a family, a culture, and a religion.

Ever since Art Spiegelman's Maus won a Pulitzer in , the graphic memoir has been comics' avenue into mainstream literature and academia. Though an academic and comics scholar myself, I was surprised to learn that another university press has ventured into the increasingly esteemed field of comics publishing. While I look forward to perusing the dozen or so other titles, Lightman seems an ideal starting point for any comics reader, though especially for those with an interest in the art of sequential art.

Each of Lightman's eight chapters feature a Torah-related title, emphasizing the religious focus of her upbringing—one that resulted, directly or indirectly, in her suffering decades of anxiety and insecurity. Or maybe she would have suffered the same if she had grown-up in another religion or in none at all. Still, the absence of a biblical Book of Sarah speaks metaphorical volumes. Unlike most comics creators, Lightman is not interested in layout norms that treat a page as a multi-image unit.

Most of her pages feature a single work of art, and when they include two, it seems to be due to the width of the images requiring, or at least inviting, a pair to be positioned in a column. She rarely includes more than two—though the exceptions are striking: a family portrait redrawn in incomplete fragments; a repeating half-full, half-empty water glass providing a visual metaphor for her shifting optimism.

She extends beyond a 2x2 structure only once: two pages divided into a Warhol-like 3x3 grid of self-portraits in varying styles, but all with vague backgrounds that she uses to emphasize her inability to engage fully in her life. Lightman also eliminates the related comics norms of drawn frames, instead letting the white of an image background bleed into the white of the page or, if the image is drawn to its edges or on cream-colored paper, letting the image float freely in the whiteness. The visual approach emphasizes the images as artwork rather than just pieces in a narrative—though they function at that level too. Lightman's narration appears beneath most images, ranging between four words "Smile, said the midwife. Lightman uses a handwriting-imitating font, which is a nice gesture, but the perfectly identical letters and spacing is an imperfect match to the intensively hand-created images above each, some of which include their own hand-drawn words.

But the font choice also establishes a sense of two-worlds, the visual and the verbal, playing against each other. Here's where Lightman proves herself not simply an accomplished artist, but specifically an accomplished comics author. While the art world is full of excellent artists who could fill a similarly sized book with equally well-crafted drawings, few have the comics savvy to construct the sort of complex narratives and image-text relationships that Lightman achieves in her memoir.

She narrates, "Things and spaces speak for me," a reflection on the form of the graphic memoir, especially in her ability to shape her experiences into visual meanings. After describing reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to her son, she begins a litany of the foods she ate as expressions of her former insecurities, moving into other kinds of objects -- the gift of a plant, a boyfriend's toothbrush, her cell phone as she waits for him to call, the bench she sits on, and finally a two-page spread of its pencil-gray view. The images match her words—and yet Lightman is absent. Her cellphone floats in the white of the page instead of the palm of her hand.

She draws the bench twice too, but never herself on it—an absence that poignantly contradicts her narration. When she does finally draw herself, in a three-image zoom-in of a framed photograph that begins with blanks spaces where her and her former lover's faces belong, it is a sudden, full-color close-up that visually states far more than the word "happy" repeated in the narration below it can. Elsewhere Lightman's word-image combinations are even more inventive. She writes that her "scaffolding of self was barely holding up" below a self-portrait that includes scaffolding in the background. Assuming the image is drawn from a photograph as it and many others presumably were , did the incidental inclusion of the background detail prompt Lightman to develop scaffolding into a verbal metaphor or did she write the sentence first and seek an image to match it, possibly adding the scaffolding?

While such process-focused questions are usually non-essential to a final product, they are more revealing for Lightman since her memoir is about process in multiple senses. At times she seems to be selecting images from her pre-existing work to include as needed, while at other times she seems to be drawing in order to fill a narrative need. And there are even moments when an image seems to be included for its own sake, making the narrative flow bend around it. All three approaches are intriguing, but their combination is even more so.

Since Lightman is depicting her years-long struggles with depression and her varying attempts to overcome it, the vacillating approaches take on further significance. Lightman herself seems to be more than one person—or rather herself at different moments in her evolving life. Her self-portraits and varying styles capture this effect, but her verbal narration emphasizes it too. At times she speaks retrospectively, looking back on past events from a present tense grounded somewhere around "From where I draw now, I can see a church and a synagogue. I feel bad about it now two hours later.

It also makes the words image-like, snippets seemingly pulled from the same sketchbooks as many of the images. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Erasmus School of Economics. Famous Economists. Business France. Retrieved 25 November Archived from the original on 4 March Archived from the original on 22 June University World News. Retrieved 25 August Archived from the original on 5 November Retrieved 28 April Project Syndicate. Archived from the original on 27 November Infosys Prize. The Guardian. Times Colonist: The Associated Press. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2 October Foreign Policy.

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