The Counterlife - Part 2 Judea, pages 104-129 Summary & Analysis

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Part 2 Judea, pages 104-129 Summary

As Nathan and Henry walk and attempt to have a conversation, Henry is immediately combative. He says he will not answer any sort of questions requesting justification for his decision to come to Israel, and he will not tolerate any criticism of that decision. Henry suggests that they go to an area where Arabs and Jews live peacefully, and he explains some of the recent strife between Arabs and Jews. Henry explains that at lunch Nathan will understand that peace between Arabs and Jews is possible. According to Henry, there are only a few troublemakers, and he criticizes the Israeli army for not resolving the situation.

Nathan notices how Henry continually uses the term "we" when speaking of Jew versus Arab, and he thinks Henry has taken the Jewish settlers' cause as his own. When the two brothers get into the car, Nathan is shocked to discover that Henry is carrying a gun. Nathan is unable to take his mind off the pistol in Henry's possession. However, at lunch Nathan does notice that the atmosphere seems peaceful concerning everyone around, even if it is strained between him and Henry.

Henry speaks of the exact location they are visiting, as opposed to other Israeli cities like Tel Aviv, as being the real birthplace of the Jews. While Henry speaks of Jewish heritage, Nathan asks about their own family heritage. He asks what about the heritage of their parents and grandparents in New Jersey. This causes Henry to angrily speak of how his life New Jersey was misdirected and pointless. While Henry talks, Nathan considers the possibilities that might have caused Henry to make such an abrupt shift in his life. First, he wonders if guilt over the affair with Wendy causes Henry to try to find more meaning in his life. Then he wonders if perhaps Henry simply was bored with marriage and used his newfound religious fervor as an excuse. Nathan does not share his ideas because he is still afraid of the fact that Henry is carrying a gun.

When Henry and Nathan return to the settlement, Nathan meets Mordecai Lippman, and Nathan's first impression of Lippman is that of an overly theatrical frontline soldier. Lippman shows Nathan his collection of books and begins the first of his many monologues of the night. When the subject of Nathan's friend Shuki arises, Lippman criticizes Shuki as vehemently as Shuki had earlier criticized Lippman.

During dinner Lippman continues his monologues, pausing only to let his other guests offer speeches supporting his views and in many ways parroting his ideas. One guest tells Nathan that in America the whites will soon turn against the Jews, and Nathan questions the guest's familiarity with America. Rather than receive an answer to the question, Nathan receives from a different dinner guest criticism that compares him personally to other American writers who are responsible for ideas that are critical of Israel. Before the end of the dinner, Lippman goes on another rant about Jewish military strength and the will to fight.

Part 2 Judea, pages 104-129 Analysis

Meeting with Henry causes Nathan to uncover more questions than answers about his brother. Nathan struggles to comprehend what he regards as wild exaggerations and irrationality. When Henry speaks of the ability to shell Jordan with artillery and does so with pride, Nathan sees that they inhabit two different worlds. At no time can Nathan pinpoint exactly what caused his brother's transformation. He considers many ideas, some as opposite as Henry just needed an excuse to get out of his marriage to the thought that perhaps Henry truly believes all the rhetoric of zealots like Lippman. And in Lippman, Nathan is baffled at what Henry finds admirable. All Nathan sees in Lippman is a man who enjoys being a leader because it provides him with an audience for his frequent and long monologues.

This section contains 654 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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