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jewish literature lecture notes

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Karen Weisman

October 20, 2011 As we study the literature of a particular cultural group, we must be careful not to isolate them. Anything studied in this class could also be studied under another non-Jewish theme. For example, Yazierska as feminist, Cahan as labor activist. We have to ask what represents the Canadian Jewish landscape? When we demarcate a boundary around a cultural/national/geographic entity, what does it mean? First Morning Situates us immediately in the world of a Jewish immigrant, who is still trying to figure out what it means to be Canadian Jewish immigrant. Old world vs. New. Zipper is not interested as Cahan in the Jewish identity, here it is taken for granted. Other issues come to fore. Reassurance provided in the form of what Shternberg does NOT need. Immediacy of the info, the reassurance means Shternberg felt otherwise. Immediate presupposition is that where he came from must have been the opposite. Organizing premise: nostalgia about finding a safe heaven juxtaposed with the precarious past. Nostalgia for the familiarity of the old world comes hand in hand with the hostility experienced there. Problematics of nostalgia, people miss their past, but they don’t miss everything! Gitl did not want to leave her shtetl, but it was actually a dangerous place full of economic hardship. Nostalgia for the past combined with gratitude for the present. Nobody cares who he is in Montreal, cuts two ways! Uncle Chaim’s series of declaration, extrapolation of his claims. Notice Zipper’s narrative technique.Theme of safe haven explained through Chaim’s assertions. Feeling of anxiety, coldness … Zipper was Principal of Jewish School in Montreal, a secular school. These are no longer
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