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 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

 Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists
 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

 The Curse of Realism
 Karin Kukkonen

 More than Minds
 Jonas Grethlein

 Toward the Non-Natural
 Maria Mäkelä

 Two Conceptions of Experientiality and Narrativity
 Dan Shen

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 Brian McHale

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Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 14, issue 1 (January 2016) : 83-98
“Schooling in grief”
Effects of Suffering in Saul Bellow’s The Victim and Chaim Potok’s The Chosen
James William Flath
Rubric A: Episodes in the History of Ideas
Rubric B: American Novel



Suffering is at the core of Jewish-American literature in general and in the fiction of Saul Bellow and Chaim Potok in particular. Bellow and Potok, affirmative writers who believe in man’s redemption through suffering, portray characters that evoke the Job-like “suffering man” whose endurance and faith in God are finally rewarded. “Schooling in grief,” a phrase borrowed from Bellow’s Herzog (1964), can also be applied to Bellow’s The Victim (1947) and Potok’s The Chosen (1967). The paper reads these two novels with the notion of the I/It and I/Thou relationship as explained in Martin Buber’s I and Thou (1923). The characters in The Victim and The Chosen move from the I/It to the I/Thou encounter through suffering, which eventually leads towards mutual understanding and love for the other.

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