The Cellist of Sarajevo

Emina is an old friend of Dragan’s, who sees Dragan in the street and forces him to remember how life was in Sarajevo before the war. Emina has somehow remained optimistic during the siege, doing her best to help other people. Emina gets shot by a sniper, showing Dragan how hard it is to behave heroically, as he is unable to do anything to protect or help her.

Emina Quotes in The Cellist of Sarajevo

The The Cellist of Sarajevo quotes below are all either spoken by Emina or refer to Emina. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead Books edition of The Cellist of Sarajevo published in 2009.
Two: Dragan Quotes

“The last time I saw him, he told me, 'What is coming is worse than anything you can imagine,’” Dragan says. “He killed himself the day the war began.”

Emina shakes her head. “This cannot be as bad as what happened in those camps.”
Dragan considers this, wonders how relative suffering is. “No, it's not. I don't think he thought it would be. But I think he believed that what he and others suffered there meant something, that people had learned from it. But they haven't.”

Related Characters: Dragan (speaker), Emina (speaker)
Page Number: 74-75
Explanation and Analysis:
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"I can't remember if we were like that, or just think we were. It seems impossible to remember what things were like." And he suspects this is what the men on the hills want most. They would, of course, like to kill them all, but if they can't, they would like to make them forget how they used to be, how civilized people act. He wonders how long it will take before they succeed.

Related Characters: Dragan (speaker), Emina
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Two: Dragan (Part 2) Quotes

"Who is he playing for?" she asks again, and suddenly Dragan thinks he knows.
"Maybe he's playing for himself," he says. "Maybe it's all he knows how to do, and he's not doing it to make something happen." And he thinks this is true. What the cellist wants isn't a change, or to set things right again, but to stop things from getting worse. Because, as the optimist in Emina's mother's joke said, it can always get worse. But perhaps the only thing that will stop it from getting worse is people doing the things they know how to do.

Related Characters: Dragan (speaker), Emina (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cellist
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

She is the person he once knew: Affected by the war, changed, but the woman he knew is still in there. She hasn't been covered in the gray that colors the streets. He wonders why he hasn't seen this before, wonders how much else he hasn't seen.

Related Characters: Dragan, Emina
Related Symbols: Gray
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
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Emina Character Timeline in The Cellist of Sarajevo

The timeline below shows where the character Emina appears in The Cellist of Sarajevo. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Two: Dragan
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...the railway car. A woman approaches, and Dragan recognizes an old friend of his wife’s, Emina. Dragan dreaded dinners with Emina and her boring husband Jovan before the war and he... (full context)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Emina sees Dragan and rushes toward him. Dragan briefly considers rushing into the street to avoid... (full context)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Dragan tells Emina that a sniper has fired at this intersection, and Emina seems genuinely concerned that people... (full context)
Reality, Image, and Memory Theme Icon
Emina asks Dragan if he has heard about a new production of Hair that is trying... (full context)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Dragan and Emina look around at the gray streets, and Emina comments that the war has made her... (full context)
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...He is stunned that the sniper missed, and rushes back to safety behind the boxcar. Emina hugs Dragan as he falls to the ground. He can’t believe that he has finally... (full context)
Two: Dragan (Part 2)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Dragan asks Emina if she would rather be wounded or killed. She answers wounded, rationalizing that any chance... (full context)
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Emina has gone every day to listen to the cellist, but she still doesn’t know what... (full context)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Emina confesses that she is afraid that this is how life will be forever in Sarajevo.... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Reality, Image, and Memory Theme Icon
...no idea what he can do to make that happen. A dog approaches Dragan and Emina, clearly on a mission, with its nose to the ground. The dog does not acknowledge... (full context)
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Reality, Image, and Memory Theme Icon
The dog disappears down the street and Emina asks Dragan where the dog is going. Dragan has no answer, but he realizes that... (full context)
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Emina and Dragan move toward the street, but Dragan suddenly loses his nerve. Emina decides to... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
The crowd behind the boxcar rushes forward to see if Emina is alive and to yell at the other people in the street to run. The... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Emina and the young man reach Dragan behind the boxcar. Emina’s arm is wounded. Meanwhile, the... (full context)
Three: Dragan
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
A small group of people gather around Emina, trying to see how badly injured her arm is. Someone hands Dragan Emina’s blue coat... (full context)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Two men load Emina into the car. Dragan wishes he could go with her, but knows that it is... (full context)
War, Civilians, and Humanity Theme Icon
Reality, Image, and Memory Theme Icon
...then Dragan had already given up on his life in the city. Now, after seeing Emina, Dragan realizes that the city still holds opportunity for connection. (full context)
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Dragan wishes that he had rushed into the street to help Emina, but he is also comfortable with his cowardice. He was not built for war and... (full context)
Three: Dragan (Part 2)
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
Dragan thinks about Emina and the cellist. Just as the cellist plays because it is the only thing he... (full context)
Heroism Theme Icon
Reality, Image, and Memory Theme Icon
Once the firing stops, Dragan stands and picks up Emina’s coat and the dead man’s hat. He thinks about what will happen when the Sarajevans... (full context)
Four: Dragan
Art, Culture, and Civilization Theme Icon
Heroism Theme Icon
...other old man walking down the street, at first toward the bakery. Then Dragan remembers Emina’s pills in his pocket and decides he will deliver the medicine before going to get... (full context)