The Diamond Mine Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Wasserman explores whether Cather's works contain anti-Semitic overtones and specifically examines Cather's choice of a Jewish character (Poppas) as "the image of the intuitive self" in "The Diamond Mine."

The question of whether Willa Cather's writings betray an underlying anti-Semitism is not new. James Schroeter developed the accusation at some length in the mid-1960s, and Bernard Baum and John H. Randall III had made it explicit somewhat earlier. They conclude that indeed Cather was anti-Semitic in that she slipped into dismissive stereotype —a characteristic she shared with other early modernists, Schroeter adds—stereotypes of the "poolroom" variety that identify Jewishness with "commercial exploitation, secularization, and destruction of traditional values." His list of the writers who casually label a character "the Jew" or picture the Jew as outsider and spoiler includes stellar members of Cather's generation (Anderson, Dreiser) and of...

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This section contains 1,835 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Diamond Mine Study Guide
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The Diamond Mine from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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