Page 87 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 31

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MORRIS / HAYYIM HAZAZ
present were his two narrative styles: one, in which the language
is ironic, dry, unadorned, and concise; and the other, consisting
of abundant description, with lengthy sentences, relying heavily
on onomatopoeia, alliteration, paradox, antithesis, similes, and
metaphors.
Hazaz culled words and phrases from all periods of Jewish
history, from the Bible, the Talmud, legends, medieval poetry,
contemporary Hebrew literature and speech, and local dialects,
making new and unusual use of the language. He employed allu-
sions from Jewish literature and life to describe almost indescrib-
able feelings. He established the Jewish point of view and mood
with his mixture of the secular and the sacred, his use of Tal-
mudic and homiletic logic, and his use of irony, humor, pathos,
and tragedy.
Varying the language and the content with the subject matter,
Hazaz used the same kind of narrative style in his descriptions of
the Jews of the
shtetl,
of the Yemenites and other Easterners, of
the pioneers, and of contemporary Israelis, adding the appro-
priate dialogue. He indulged in mimicry, extravagant detail, and
exaggeration, enlarging the characters and exhibiting their
peculiarities until they are almost grotesque in the Rabelaisian
manner. This narrative style reached its height in works like
“Dorot Rishonim,” some stories in
Rehayim Shevurim,
“Drab-
kin,” parts of
Hayoshevet Baganim,
and
Ya’ish.
It is this artistry combined with his perceptiveness of the
human dilemma which place Hayyim Hazaz among the signifi-
cant writers of our time. His success as a leader of the Jewish
people lies in the unswerving commitment of his life and art to
exhorting, cajoling, prodding and encouraging them to go from
Galut
to
Geulah.