The Counterlife Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Counterlife.
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Identity Within a Group or What Kind of Jew Are You?

Throughout the novel at least two of the main characters, Nathan and Henry Zuckerman, struggle with their place within their own ethnic or religious group. Often they find themselves uncomfortable and unsure when the question is posed, and just as often they find themselves on the defensive when the issue is raised as an accusation. In one alternate version of the story, Part 2 "Judea," Henry has a sudden awakening and seeks to embrace his Jewish heritage. With only one exception, Nathan remains aloof and finds the question worthy only of generating humor in his fiction writing.

The exception to Nathan's experience comes in the final part of the novel titled "Christendom." Confronted with blatant anti-Semitism in England, Nathan is surprised how angry he becomes. Always before he had remained above what he saw as petty, or perhaps even...

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This section contains 810 words
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Buy The Counterlife Study Guide
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