For the Relief of Unbearable Urges Summary
Nathan Englander

Everything you need to understand or teach For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander.

  • For the Relief of Unbearable Urges Summary & Study Guide

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges Summary

In his first story, "The Twenty-seventh Man," Englander takes on his most selfreflexive theme. The character of Pinchas demonstrates more than the randomness of religious persecution; he embodies the driving passion of writing as well as its power and importance independent of publication. Pinchas is different from his fellow inmates in two ways. First, his voluminous writings are unpublished. The other Jewish authors rounded up by Stalin's cronies published scathing attacks against the Communist regime. They represent half of writing's purpose: to change minds through mass readership.

Pinchas, on the other hand, represents the often unrecognized second half. Unlike the other prisoners who argue bitterly about their respective techniques in an effort to assert their superiority, Pinchas has no interest in either fame or esteem. Though the other authors write for political purposes as well as glory, Pinchas writes only because he loves to: "he had written because...

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