Philip Roth Writing Styles in Goodbye, Columbus

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Point of View and Narration

This story is narrated from the first person restricted point of view. Neil Klugman is both the narrator and the protagonist and everything is portrayed from his perspective. This is effective because this is a story about identity and self-discovery; what is important is how Neil perceives himself and his relationships with others, particularly Brenda, and how these perceptions change over the course of the story.

Yiddish

Roth's story is smattered with Yiddish words and expressions, which capture the flavor of Jewish culture. The use or non-use of Yiddish words by various characters in the story is significant in indicating their relationship to Jewish identity. For instance, Mr. Patimkin uses the Yiddish word "gonif," which Neil knows means "thief." Mr. Patimkin comments that his own children do not know Yiddish; they are so assimilated into mainstream American society that he refers to them as...

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This section contains 536 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Goodbye, Columbus Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Goodbye, Columbus from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.