Page 47 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 40

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FURSTENBERG/ WOMAN IN ISRAELI LITERATURE
41
the woman as sex object. T am a ra Reinhold is a hard , brittle, albeit
sexually adep t woman. She is a flat character. T h e re is little
attempt to depict her fully as a person with emotions and at­
titudes.
In much o f O rp az ’s surrealistic fiction woman is also a sexually
determ ined creature abstracted from a concrete, complex total­
ity. Th is abstraction leads to the use o f archetypal women as actual
characters in his stories. An early story o f Orpaz, “T h e Gazelle
H un t,” indicates the forces at work in his stories. T h e lyrical tale
o f a man hunting a beau tifu l gazelle near Eilat is paralleled by the
increasingly erotic and surrea listic in terchange between the
driver and the woman in the car who, one suspects, is the wife or
companion o f the man hunting the gazelle. Th e hunter is ob ses­
sed by the pu re beauty o f the gazelle. “T h e gazelle’s skin is white
and soft on the in s ide .” Th ere is someth ing o f the pu re ideal in
this. Th e vu lgar variation o f the theme o f male hunting fem ale
can be found in the increasing sexual tension between the driver
and the woman as the driver tells and re-tells the story o f the
mermaid caught by the fisherman in the buttocks.
Th e jux tapo s it ion o f hunt and sexuality points up the inter­
connection between the two. It is a commonp lace that there is a
heighten ing o f maleness in face o f war which, in turn, heightens
sexuality. It is therefore not su rp rising that, in Israel, where there
is a constant threat o f war one finds a polarization o f the sexes in
life which is depicted in literature. T h e re is also someth ing deeply
sensual about the threat o f destruction as we have seen in Amos
Oz’ work. Th is is also evident in O rp az ’ “Th e Ants,” which sur-
realistically portrays a frigid woman arou sed to sexuality with her
husband when their house is attacked by ants. On the simplest
level o f interpretation the e fforts to fight the common enemy
bring husband and wife closer together. Bu t on a d eep er level,
there is sweet sensuality in the resignation o f waiting fo r the
destruction. T h e coup le is closest as they wait for the house to fall
upon them. O rpaz creates elemental male and fem ale figure s , the
women often being destructive forces as in “Th e Ants” and “T h e
Death o f Ly sanda .” In spite o f the abstract, non-realistic quality o f
O rpaz ’ writing, a plot develops as he creates a world with these
elemental figure s and the story takes on a dynamic and logic o f its
own.