Operation Shylock: A Confession Summary
Philip Roth

Everything you need to understand or teach Operation Shylock by Philip Roth.

  • Operation Shylock: A Confession Summary & Study Guide
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Operation Shylock: A Confession Summary

In its broadest sense, the theme of Operation Shylock emerges as the struggle of a fictional character who agonizes over retaining his identity against an imposter who has literally torn it from him. That theme relates clearly to Roth's own conflicts with himself and his craft that came forth in Zuckerman Bound trilogy (1984) and The Counterlife (1987), both of which emphasize characters' critical self-examinations and reevaluations of themselves and their priorities. After all, the epigraph to the novel reads, "So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak." Thus, a critical question relative to its theme develops as the narrative unfolds: Where does the real Philip Roth end and his imagination begin? On a purely political level, however, one can clearly discern Roth's attempt, in what John Updike labels a "Dostoyevskian phantasmagoria," to weave for the public a thematic mosaic of the various and ironic...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The Operation Shylock: A Confession Study Pack contains:

Operation Shylock Short Guide