Page 147 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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publish. “Rahamim ha-sabal” may be seen as the standard
Hazazian story o f the thirties, especially in terms o f its structure.
“Ha-Derasha” evinces the peak o f Hazaz’s creative ability in his
formulation o f the story o f ideas. T he 1933-43 period also shows
im po rtan t thematic and generic shifts in Hazaz’s works: He began
writing about the Yemenite Jews, and he displayed a renewed
interest in the novel.
My pu rpose here is to point to a number o f realistic conventions
in each o f these stories, especially to characterization, in o rde r to
dem onstrate Hazaz’s transition from the realistic story, which
contained certain philosophical overtones, to the genre o f the
story o f ideas, which uses realistic depiction as a purposeful
framework for dramatized ideas.4
T h e re are several common denom inators in “Rahamim
ha-sabal” and “ha-Derasha”:
(1) In the ir general framework, both are stories o f confron­
tation; at their dramatic center is a meeting o f minds
concerning a problem pu rpo rted to affect both sides o f
the argument.
(2) Both focus on a common theme: The response to the
traumatic experience o f transition from the Diaspora to
Erets Yisrael (in theory, if not in fact).
(3) In structure and narrative rhythm the stories also
resemble each other: External and internal characteri­
zation o f the main character; comments by the narra to r
on the character’s personality and attitude toward his
surround ings; regu lar references to background
details; the meeting o r confrontation between protago­
nist and antagonist; an increasing crescendo toward cli­
max o f debate, response and in terrup tions; a climax
which includes a moment o f silence o r quiet introspec­
tion; followed by a b r ief denouem en t with an open or
ambiguous ending, creating a strong sense o f irony.
(4) T he characterization techniques in both stories are also
parallel: A realistic presentation by means o f idiosyn­
cratic speech and recurring , emblematic gestures; the
4 See
Ideas in Fiction: The Works of Hayim Hazaz,
pp. 65-68, and 74f.