The Shawl Essay

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Berger teaches at Syracuse University. In the following excerpt, he argues that Ozick's use of symbolism in "The Shawl" contributes to the sto­ry's theme of Jewish endurance in the face of horrendous suffering

Cynthia Ozick has written that "stories ought to judge and interpret the world." But universal mean­ing can only be derived from particularistic experi­ence, "Literature," she has written, "is the recog­nition of the particular." Responding to the Holocaust requires not only an encounter with, but a struggle to redeem from, evil. Ozick's "redemptive litera­ture" is embedded in biblical, rabbinic, and mysti­cal symbolism. . . .

"The Shawl" (1980), ... is a unique story because it directly confronts the horrors of a death camp experience. The tale, told from the perspec­tive of an omniscient narrator, concerns three Jew­esses; Rosa, her infant daughter Magda, and her adolescent...

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This section contains 978 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Shawl Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Shawl from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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