September 20, 2011
Pg. 81, bare outlines of the story “Higher Education” … we never read the entire story.
Natahnis 20 yrs old, wants affirmation of alternative identity other than the ones imposed on him
by his family and community.
The story is seen to be affirming antisemitic stereotypes, kikes and their love of money. Jewish
elders have anxiety about the reception of Nathan’s story.
Their anxiety not entirely groundless, 1950s US, post-McCarthy, Jews and other minorities have
full protection under law. Still publicly perceived virtue was not to stand out. Not too long after
WWII. Quotas still in use. That is how Nathan’s father ended up as a podiatrist but not a doctor.
Distinctive Jewishness would foment hatred, fear still existed. However, here we have an inter-
generational conflict. Nathan does not feel restricted although discrimination exists, The
previous generation and their response to the Holocaust very different from Nathan’s.
Nathan and his parents seem to be from different worlds. This novel is not a