The Counterlife - Part 2 Judea, pages 66-83 Summary & Analysis

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Part 2 Judea, pages 66-83 Summary

Nathan recounts the events surrounding Maria's divorce. In exchange for not mentioning her infidelity, Maria's estranged husband insists that she sign a legal document agreeing not to remove their daughter, Phoebe, from England. Maria sees this as an attempt to sabotage her new marriage, and Nathan agrees, but he tells her to sign and they can try to renegotiate again in a few years. Maria worries that being forced to live in England will hurt Nathan's writing. At forty-four, Nathan believes this might be his last chance at a family. His previous three marriages had been childless. Maria worries that she is too ordinary a woman for Nathan. She judges herself against the characters in Nathan's fiction, but he convinces her that he loves her. Nathan again remembers how out of character it was for Maria to argue at the dinner party. The other guests had assumed Nathan, a Jewish writer, would respond. Nathan wonders if part of Maria's vehemence in defending the Israeli view might have been due to her anxiety over their future together.

After Nathan finishes telling Shuki the story of the dinner party, he also mentions that he is in Israel to find Henry. Shuki is shocked to think that Nathan a writer well known for his sarcasm about Jewish topics has a brother that is living in Israel. Nathan says that Carol asked him to come and check on Henry, and Nathan also mentions that Henry has spoken of being a follower of a man named Lippman.

At the mention of Lippman, Shuki becomes concerned. He has an extremely low opinion of Lippman. He believes the man is a dangerous fanatic and is harmful to the cause of peace in Israel. Shuki describes Lippman as the kind of man who goes into an Arab area with a pistol and tells the Arabs that everyone can get along so long as the Arabs are subservient to the Jews.

Shuki cannot understand why successful Jews like Nathan and Henry who have good lives in other countries would want to come to Israel. Shuki tells of some of the recent stress in his own family. One of his sons has a promising career as a pianist, but he has recently been drafted into the Israeli military for three years.

After saying goodbye to Shuki, Nathan decides rather than remaining in Tel Aviv, to get a hotel and stay in Jerusalem. He hopes that maybe Henry will agree to have dinner with him. Nathan also wonders whether Henry is staying voluntarily, or if he is a captive. He remembers Carol's reasons for asking him to go see Henry. She says that Henry cannot dismiss Nathan as easily as he does her. Once he checks into a hotel, Nathan calls the settlement where Henry is staying and asks to speak to him. While someone goes to find Henry, Nathan recalls a conversation with one of Henry's daughters. She said that she believed what her father did was brave and she admired him.

When Henry speaks on the telephone he is immediately cold, suspicious, and defensive.

Part 2 Judea, pages 66-83 Analysis

Nathan seems to see marriage to Maria as a significant and perhaps final opportunity at having the type of life he wants. This desire does not seem to involve desperation as it is described here, but Nathan is willing to make sacrifices in order to make the relationship a success, including relocating to England despite Maria's fears that such a move will adversely affect his writing.

Shuki's reaction to hearing that Nathan has a brother living in Israel is significant to understanding the character of Nathan. Nathan is regarded as a person who is never serious, a person who believes anything is fair game for ridicule. Shuki, on the other hand, becomes gravely serious when he hears the name Lippman. Shuki is ardent in his description of Lippman as a dangerous fanatic.

Again, the idea of "type of Jew" emerges with Shuki's failure to understand why successful and secure Jews would want to live in Israel. Away from Israel, Nathan and Henry enjoy financial success, and they do not have to fear for the security of their families. In Israel there are, according to Shuki, fanatic Jews who endanger the security of more moderate Jews like his own family.

This section contains 730 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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