The Theme of Growth in Exodus
Exodus, by Leon Uris, is a novel of genuine Affirmation. One of the most prevalent of the affirmative themes is the idea of growth. Many of the characters learn a lot about themselves, and change tremendously in a positive way. Earlier in their lives, these characters decided to live their life one way, but throughout the book they change, and join each other to unite. Fighting for their common religion and fundamental rights brought them together in a way that is barely imaginable.
In Exodus, Mr. Uris shows that a common belief can bring people together, and which leads to personal growth. During the course of the story, the characters who show the most growth are Ari Ben Canaan, Kitty Fremont, and Dov Landau. Ari Ben Canaan undergoes change through his relationship with Kitty. Ari is what is known as a sabra. A sabra is actually a small fruit which is hard on the outside and soft on the inside. This metaphor is used to describe young Jewish freedom fighters, because of their hard exterior. But inside, what drives them is their determination and deep emotions. Ari Ben Canaan fits this description. What is different about him is that he is at the very extreme. His exterior is hard and completely unemotional, and he finds it impossible to get in touch with any of his emotions. When Ari was 14 years old, while bringing grain to a nearby Arab village, he was beat up by a gang of Arab boys and his grain was stolen. After that incident, his father, Barak Ben Canaan, taught Ari to use a bull whip and defend himself. At 15, Ari joined the secret Army of Self Defense, the Haganah. A few years later, Ari’s young wife Dafna was brutally murdered and raped by Arabs. Instead of responding violently, Ari only deepened his determination to keep the land of Palestine for the Jewish people.
These few events in Ari’s life show the complexity of his personality and experiences, and help to show just why Ari is so determined for the cause. Years later, after meeting Kitty Fremont, Ari loves her, but cannot tell her so. It is impossible for him to admit his feelings so easily, even though truthfully he loves her more deeply than he loved Dafna. Through their experiences together, they build a friendship, and both of them want more than that but neither will admit it. What brings them to finally accept each other is the death of Karen, which finally made Ari question his ideals, after everyone has died. Ari breaks down and cries, something he has never done before. He is not ready to completely change his ways, he says to Kitty, "...it may be forever before I can ever again say that my need for you comes first, before all other things...before the needs of this country." (page 599). But still, he has taken a giant leap and shown his emotions, which shows a great amount of growth on his part.
Kitty Fremont also shows growth in her relationship with Ari, but she personally grows more with her views on involvement...