Islamic and Friendship Studies at Oberlin College

Response to Marc Chagall: In the Mountain by Keifer

This painting is a good depiction of friendship for numerous reasons. First of all, and I don’t think this has been covered thoroughly enough in class, I believe there is a good degree of physical affection. Though the man and the woman cling to each other, this seems to be more of a platonic moment for the husband and wife than a romantic one (friendship exists within romantic love as well). The man’s head is titled towards the heavens, whereas she has her head against his chest and is looking off into space. Clearly they are connecting with the environment around them as a means of connecting with one another, instead of connecting with one another directly. I also believe that nature is a good form of friendship’s manifestation. Nature, like friendship, gets people to look out instead of look within and connect with other entities that are not oneself. In this scene, I believe that silence illustrates the friendship as well as any noises could, because they are comfortable being with each other without the pressure of generating conversation. The different greens combine with one another, resembling both a friendship of difference and a friendship of similarity. They both share the characteristic of having a green hue, but overall contrast against one another and do not blend in. This is friendship. Because no two likes can be friends with one another and no two exact opposites can be friends with one another. Friendship is about sharing some similarities but not to the extent that you are the same color green as the other.

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