Zuckerman Unbound Themes & Motifs

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Family

Although much of the novel chronicles Zuckerman’s struggle with the challenges of fame, this challenge is interwoven—and ultimately concluded—with portrayals of the struggles that Zuckerman experiences in terms of his family relationships. Zuckerman’s latest novel, “Carnovsky,” which launches him to widespread fame, is a fictional analog for Roth’s own novel “Portnoy’s Complaint.” Like “Portnoy’s Complaint,” “Carnovsky” appears to deal with themes of family through childhood and adolescence in Newark in the mid-twentieth-century. Carnovsky’s content causes great strife and confusion within Zuckerman’s immediate family, especially since people seem to believe that the family in “Carnovsky” is based on Zuckerman’s family. Zuckerman’s mother says, “I tell them what you told me: that it’s a story. That she is a character in a book. So they say, ‘Why does he write a story like that, unless it...

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This section contains 2,332 words
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Buy the Zuckerman Unbound Study Guide
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