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March 17, 2016 | Author: | Posted in history, holocaust studies

Out of these stories , it was Malamud ‘s The Jewbird ‘ which evoked the most personal response in me . The situation in which Schwartz , the scrawny blackish Jewbird , found himself in is all too familiar to me in some senses . A creature too smart for his own good , and yet lacking the simple everyday wisdom required for survival , someone who carries about him an aura of both scruffiness and elegance , and yet stubborn and unyielding to circumstances – he identifies easily as the type that attracts me , the intelligent loner . And he finds himself in [banner_entry_middle]

a situation typical for those who are labeled as intelligent loners : generally liked by those they aid in some way , and yet hated by your typical bully . This I know all too well from experience , and I cannot help but like the bird , who is tired and recognizes the danger he is placed in , yet still does what he does

I sympathize with the situation even more since this is the Jewbird we are talking about . I am generally sympathetic to Jewish culture : I happen to find that among the smarter , wiser and generally better-adapted people I know , there is a high percentage of Jews . The People of the Book have managed to survive as a nation against all odds which makes me respect them greatly . Yet America , the great melting pot of cultures , changes everything – and there is nothing worse than inner conflict , when those Jews that have assimilated attack those that have not yet done so . Malamud depicts this classical conflict in a deeply ironic way – emphasized , at least , by the surname Cohen , which is derived from the Jewish word for Priest . When someone from a line of holy men turns so hopelessly mundane , what hope can there be

Quite a bit . This story is inherently optimistic , despite its sad end The bird is like a spirit , one which came from nowhere , and one which lives on , to be reborn like the Phoenix in the hearts of those who care Schwartz ‘s influence had been magical , and even though Malamud shows a regress as soon as the Jewbird is out of the picture , the impression had been left . Perhaps not in Mori , since we are shown that he will never rise above middle level , but in the next generation , it would show , this inner Jewish spirit . It is a thing of great beauty and of amazing survival ability , and this story , in its implied death and rebirth captures it to the last stroke… [banner_entry_footer]

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