8. A Curable Romantic is filled with eye doctors—Dr. Sammelsohn, Dr. Zamenhof, Dr. Javal are all oculists—and blindness plays a large role in the book. On page 167, Dr. Freud tells Jakob, "A man is always well compensated for his blindness," while on page 523, Rav Szapira says the exact opposite: "A man will always pay for his blindnesses." On page 479, Professor Jespersen, in advocating a reformation of Esperanto, says that "Esperanto is still the work of a single man, with all his individual blindnesses, whereas the committee possesses many capable men, each able to correct the other's mistakes, don't you see?" Which characters are metaphorically blind in the novel and which can see? Which category does Jakob belong to? Does it change throughout the novel?
9. The novel is also filled with fathers: In addition to Jakob's actual father, Dr. Freud, Dr. Zamenhof, and Rav Szapira serve him as paternal figures. How are these men similar in the effects they have upon Jakob? How are they different? Are there any "good fathers" in the book? How does Jakob's search for a father propel him through his journey?
10. On page 347, in a conversation with his sister Sore Dvore, Jakob says of a Jewish homeland in Palestine (Israel): "It's only there that a Jew can live as a man." In the last line of the book, he revises this sentiment: "It was only there...that a man could live as a Jew." What does this slight change in wording signify? How does the novel address the themes of exile, tradition, assimilation, and—in the words of Woody Allen—the game of hide-and-seek that God plays in the world?
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