Survey American Lit II
Survey American Lit II ENG 442
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sarah Reichert on Friday October 30, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ENG 442 at Texas A&M University - Commerce taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see /class/232419/eng-442-texas-a-m-university-commerce in Foreign Language at Texas A&M University - Commerce.
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Date Created: 10/30/15
Prof Derek P Royal ENG 442 7 Survey of American Literature II Study Points for Philip Roth s Defender of the Faith Roth s Defender of the Faith gt VVV V V V V Roth along with Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamud are considered the three most representative gures of Jewish American writing in the postwar period In what ways does Defender of the Faith betray Jewishness In other words what is particularly ethnic about this short story When the story was rst published many Jewish readers were offended by this story seeing in it an example of Jewish selfhatred They believed that Roth had represented the Jews particularly in the gure of Grossbart in a very un attering light and felt that many of the character traits of Grossbart sihis sel shness his conniving his clannishness his deceptivenessicould be seen as unfounded Jewish stereotypes The story the critics believed would do nothing more than feed the prejudices that nonJews had against Jews Considering this critical reaction 0 Do you think that the critics were fair in condemning Roth for his portrayal of Jews 0 Does Roth come dangerously close in his use of certain ethnic stereotypes o What responsibility do ethnic writers have in representing their ethnic communities Should they ever be critical of their tribe Should they represent their community in a positive light And if they don t what responsibility do the writers bear when readers outside the ethnic community misread their works or use their writings against their ethnic community Who is the real defender of the faith What faith is it that is being defended In many ways Sergeant Marx can be seen as an outsider someone who is caught between different worlds and is really not completely a part of one o What do we know about his background 0 What relationship does he have with his superiors o How does he react to Grossbart s Jewishness How does he react to Captain Barrett s stereotypical COmIIlCIltS about Jews Why might Roth choose to name his protagonist Marx In the middle of the twentieth century what Marxes did the American public know love and fear How might these mixed associations be brought to our reading of the story of someone who is an American a soldier and a Jew How might this story be about the crisis in the formation of a Jewish American identity an identity very much complicated by the history of Nazism and the Holocaust The story is told in the rst person from the perspective of Sergeant Marx 0 Why do you think the story is told in this manner 0 How would it be different if were told from a third person omniscient perspective How would it be different if it were told from the perspective of Grossbart Of Fishbein or Halpem Of Captain Barrett or some other nonJew Philip Roth is known largely as a comic writer although Defender of the Faith doesn t come across as overtly humorous Could this story be read like a situational comedy What do you make of the minor characters Fishbein and Halpem o How does Grossbart use these two 0 How is Fishbein different from Halpem How are both different from Grossbart Do you see any signi cance in these differences A signi cant scene in the story revolves around Grossbart not being able to share Passover with his relatives What is the signi cance of Passover and its possible meanings to the story V At the very end of the story Marx observes all of the soldiers packing their bags and getting ready to ship out to the Paci c trying as best they could to accept their fate Then he notes Behind me Grossbart swallowed hard accepting his And then resisting with all my will an impulse to turn and seek pardon for my vindictiveness I accepted my own 0 Why should he want to seek pardon from Grossbart a man who Marx obviously thinks is sel sh and manipulative o What sort of fate is Marx accepting
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