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Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 48 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories.
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Using a Sense of Humor to Undermine Authority

Both Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories involve much humor against authority and the bureaucracy. This is clearest in the short story, the Automatic Exemption. In this story, a boy named Itsik is drafted, although he has an automatic exemption as an only child. On the one hand, Russian Jews generally resent the Russian state and try to avoid being drafted into the army. On the other hand, the Russian bureaucracy tends to become confused and is totally inefficient. The authorities confuse Itsik with his dead brother Eisik, and with Itsik's nickname of Alter. This story is also the perfect example of an extreme joke around a case of mistaken identity.

Likewise, in the chapter of Tevye the Dairyman, Today's Children, Tevye sees his authority undermined as Motl the Tailor and Tsaytl decide on their own to get married. Tevye...

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This section contains 862 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories Study Guide
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