The Cellist of Sarajevo is a touching novel that tells the story of three people as they struggle with daily life through a siege that took place in their home town. There are many themes, such as survival, hope, hate, and coping with war, but the most prominent theme throughout the novel is sacrifice. Arrow, Kenan, and Dragan all sacrifice their safety to do what is right and help others. Arrow was a sniper that was sacrificing her own safety to protect the city. She chose to be a sniper to give back to her city. She would work alone and choose her own targets.
She wouldn’t just shoot the first man on the hill she saw, she chose carefully. She chose the man that she thought would have killed the most people in the streets. She was later assigned to protect the cellist from any snipers that the men on the hills would send. Arrow gave as much as she could, and sacrificed being killed to protect the city from the men on the hills. Kenan is a husband and father that was willing to risk his life to get water for his family and elderly neighbor. Every so many of days, Kenan would tie together six of his families containers and two of Mrs.
Ristovski’s containers and carry them to the brewery to get water. He had to cross bridges were he would be in open view to snipers as he crossed. He also had to be aware of shelling and mortar attacks at the brewery and throughout the city. On his way home from the brewery he must find ways to carry all of the water and get across the streets and bridges fast so he doesn’t get shot by the snipers. He knows that if he brought his young son to get the water, he wouldn’t have to go to the brewery as often, but to keep his son safe he decides that it is best that he goes alone.
Kenan makes this trip alone, sacrificing his safety and the chance of getting shot by a sniper to bring fresh water back for his family and his neighbor. Dragan is a baker that dodges bullets as he crosses streets on the way to work at the bakery. Before the war, he was able to send his wife, Raza, and his eighteen year old son to Italy. Although he hasn’t heard from them in three months, he fantasizes about being in Italy with his family. On his way to the bakery, Dragan risked getting shot to pull a dead man’s body out of the street so it wouldn’t be on camera.
He knew there was a sniper that was going to shoot at him but he still went to pull the body out of the street. After the body was out of the street and out of the snipers aim, he covered the dead man’s feet with a coat and put his hat that he was wearing when he was shot back on his head. Dragan sacrificed staying in Sarajevo while his wife and son went to Italy to escape the war, and he sacrificed his safety by being shot at by the sniper while he was moving the man’s body.
My passage from the Cellist of Sarajevo expresses the theme of sacrifice because it shows how Arrow, Kenan, and Dragan did what was right to help others by sacrificing their own safety. Kenan: “Deciding how much water you can carry has become something of an art in this city. Carry too little and you’ll have to repeat the task more often. Each time you expose yourself to the dangers of the streets you run the risk of injury or death. But carry too much and you can lose the ability to run, duck, dive, anything it takes to get out of danger’s way.
Kenan has decided on eight canisters. The six from his house will hold about 24 liters of water. Two more will come from Mrs. Ristovski, the elderly neighbor downstairs. ” Dragan: “Dragan managed to get his wife, Raza, and their eighteen year old son out of the city before the war started, and they are, he thinks, in Italy now. He hasn’t heard from them in three months and has no idea when he will get word from them again. … He hopes that, wherever they are, his wife and son are happy. “Something slams into the body in front of him with a loud thump. A rifle cracks. The sniper missed by less than half a meter. Dragan grabs the hatless mans other hand and tries to get to his feet. He can’t. The body is too heavy. He’s able to crouch and, in an awkward sort of crabwalk, pull the body backward toward the boxcar. He knows the sniper will fire again, but he isn’t afraid. At this moment fear doesn’t exist. ” “Dragan takes Emina’s coat, covers the man at his feet, and gives him back his hat. ”