Portnoy's Complaint Study Questions & Topics for Discussion

This Study Guide consists of approximately 41 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Portnoy's Complaint.
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Although conflict and repression underscore Roth's principal theses in Portnoy's Complaint, a critical debate may arise as to the theme and plot of the novel standing in the way of bringing to light its fascinating characters.

Thus, one may argue that it matters not whether Sophie Portnoy or her son Alex deserve to be linked to such undesirable epithets as "pornography," "masturbation," "castration," or "pornography," they emerge as essentially real human beings — at times very funny, and at times exceedingly tragic.

Although Roth creates them as Jews to represent Jews, they also represent human beings — human strengths and human weaknesses. Thus, Alexander Portnoy's infatuation with girls (even gentile girls), his intense desire for freedom and independence, and his conflicts with Sophie cannot be restricted to Jewish boys or American boys, or to Jewish-American boys. Alexander Portnoy reflects human conditions, and thus Roth's novel transcends ethnic and...

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This section contains 344 words
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Buy the Portnoy's Complaint Study Guide
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