The Exodus and Ben Canaan Essay

Submitted By Jodano20
Words: 1597
Pages: 7

For thousands of years civilizations around the world have employed words, images and sounds in a specific structure with the intent of evoking an emotional response from the listener, reader or viewer. Storytelling, among other faculties, distinguishes Human Beings from animals as it allows us to share, teach, learn and reflect. Long ago Epic tales were spun of war and love and eventually, as our Human civilization aged and matured, so did storytelling and the mediums by which stories are told. In the city-state of Athens the first theatre was produced and the first genres emerged, Tragedy, Comedy and the Satyr plays. Actors in stone theaters preformed the first soliloquies in front of royalty and peasantry alike. Philosophers such as Aristotle developed the forms of drama and Playwrights during the enlightenment worked in three acts with climaxes, strong protagonists and even stronger antagonists. With the advent of the printing press, these forms made their way into the novel and later were projected on the silver screen. Throughout the history of storytelling, one thing has remained a constant. From Odysseus trying to get home, to Hamlet desperately trying to restore equilibrium in his life, the theme of inner piece is as timeless as the art itself. When a story focuses on a character trying to restore balance and gain inner peace, a desire that is universal, she pits herself against her own inner turmoil, loved ones, and the world. In The Road and Exodus, the two protagonists illustrate the will to survive on account of their perseverance. Whereas the message of The Road is one of cautions optimism, that of Exodus is more definitive in demonstrating the attainment of inner peace.

In both novels, the respected protagonists demonstrate the will to survive on account of their perseverance. For example in Exodus The protagonist, Ari Ben Cannon, is forced to struggle against a seemingly insurmountable opponent: the British Empire. After World War Two and the Holocaust ravaged and destroyed European Jewry, Cannon has undertaken the seemingly impossible task of protecting and saving the lives of 300 young children who have survived the concentration camps. The 300 souls he is sworn to protect represent something greater, the entirety of the Jewish people and their survival. As an allegory for the Book of Exodus, Moses, who’s played by Ben Canaan, must deliver the young children out of the house of bondage and to salvation in Israel. If he should fail, the spirit of the 300 children would sputter, and the dream of Israel would die in their hearts. They would be kept at the prison camp on the island of Cyprus, until an international tribunal could decide what to do with them. Ari Ben Cannon, utilizing his will and wit, hatched a brilliant scheme to get the children off Cyprus, and onto a boat, headed for Palestine. Before the small steamer could depart, the British got wind of the plan and blocked the boat into the harbor. With the eyes of the world fixated on the standoff, Ben Canaan called a hunger strike. Together, him and the 300 children suffered through the pain and sent a message to the worlds. Ben Canaan told a newspaper that, “There is nothing to discuss. Either the Exodus sails or it doesn’t sail. Complete amnesty to the Palestinians aboard is part of the condition”, Ben Canaan summarized: “Let my people go.” (Uris 187). In the face of the British Empire, Ari Ben Canaan made a direct allusion to the Book of Exodus uttering the same, raw, powerful words that Moses spoke to the Pharaoh in Egypt. With those words, Ben Canaan mirrored the perseverance Moses showed thousands of years before.

Likewise in The Road the protagonist, known only as The Man, also demonstrates the will to survive on account of his perseverance. After an unknown cataclysm has destroyed modern civilization and most of the life on earth, The Man realizes that he will not survive another winter in their original, unspecified