Job by Joseph Roth
• Characters: Mendel Singer, Deborah (his wife, believes god won’t do things if you don’t
work for it), Jonas (eldest son, wants to join army, drink), Shemariah (2 oldest, doesn’t
want to join army, wants to be teacher, do other stuff, marries Vega), Miriam (daughter,
sleeps around with army men), Menuchim (disabled, youngest son, left behind when
others leave for America), Mac (Shermariah’s friend), Rabbi (lives in Kluczysk, tells
Deborah Menuchim will be fine eventually), Sameshkin (peasant, has horses and brings
people places for money),
• The family lives in Zuchnow, a village in Russia.
• The Doctor offered to treat Menuchim (Mendel’s baby son) of his epilepsy for free,
Deborah was for it, but Mendel against, because the doctor would have to take him to
the hospital and Mendel didn’t want Menuchim to grow in a non-jewish area. He instead
said he would pray to god to help Menuchim. He started fasting and Deborah prayed
and visited the graves of ancestors to intermediate with God to help the baby.
• Deborah goes to a Rabbi’s house and he tells her this: “Menuchim, Mendel’s son, will
grow healthy. There will not be many of his like in Israel. Pain will make him wise,
ugliness kind, bitterness gentle, and illness strong. His eyes will be far and deep, his
ears clear and full of echoes. His mouth will be silent, but when he will open his lips,
they will herald good things. Have no fear and go home!”
• His siblings really hated him. He was like a burden to them, and the other kids would
tend to tease them because of him. Hey wanted him dead, but he did not die.
• Mendel and Deborah’s marriage was taking a toll, they felt “older” and Deborah hated
her body, they stopped sleeping together for a while. Menuchim finally said his first word,
and Deborah paid attention to him much more than his siblings.
• Joseph and Sherimiah were drafted into the army. Sherimiah preferred to live a life like
his father, whereas Joseph wanted to live in a big city and drink etc.
• The two sons came back home to visit and said they had been “taken”, everyone grew
quiet, Mendel said he didn’t know what to do, and said that no one could help them if
god put this bad luck on them. Deborah was frustrated and ran out the house to the
graveyards to pray.
• Mendel attributes everything to god’s will and thinks that nothing can be done about it.
Deborah says that they have to try, and that god won’t give anything to his people if they
don’t ask. They are at opposite ends.
• Years passed. Sheramiah sent a letter home, he now lived in America, his name was
Sam, he was married, he sent 10$ to them and wanted them to come live with him. The couple were shocked and didn’t want to go, were unhappy he is living as a different man.
Mariam wanted to go.
• Mendel discovered Mariam is running around with Cossacks (sleeping with Russian
men); he decides they should go to America, maybe that will help keep her away from
Cossacks. He wanted to leave Menuchim behind for now, Deborah did not and was
trying to figure out what to do.
• Part 2
• Years pass, they settle in New York. Mac t