American Pastoral - Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 1 Summary

Swede Levov is a magical figure in the Jewish neighborhood of Weequahic in Newark, New Jersey. A gifted athlete with Gentile features, the entire Jewish community is in love with what he stands for, a successful American Jew. Idolized for his record-breaking performances, the aloof Swede helps the Jews forget about the war and makes them feel a sense of belonging as Americans.

The author of this story, Nathan Zuckerman, is a childhood friend and ping-pong player with Swede's younger brother, Jerry. Nathan comes excitingly close to being acknowledged by the Swede, who calls him by his nickname "Skip", a memory Nathan still treasures. Nathan reminisces about a story called "The Kid from Tomkinsville" and contemplates whether Swede could encounter the same kind of disaster as the fictional hero.

Jews in Newark, especially the wealthier ones, are leaving their past behind and striving toward becoming truly Americanized...

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This section contains 609 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the American Pastoral Study Guide
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