Writing Techniques in For the Relief of Unbearable Urges

Nathan Englander
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Though concerned with a rather dark topic, Englander's stories consistently retain a light, often funny tone. He employs several techniques to maintain this tone.

For example, he carefully orders his stories to avoid drawing the reader down a slope to despair. The pointless tragedy of "The Twenty-seventh Man," for instance, is balanced by the divine redemption of the Jews in "The Tumblers." This balance is important because it give the reader a sense of the strength in Jewish identity. Even while ruminating on the oppression suffered by his people, Englander does not give in to selfpity but strikes back in a clear, comic voice.

The clarity of the voice with which Englander endows his characters underscores the force of personality that For the Relief of Unbearable Urges exudes. None of the characters is flat or stereotypical. Though they often repeat Yiddish phrases common to the shtick of a...

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This section contains 386 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the For the Relief of Unbearable Urges Short Guide
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