Page 35 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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ind” (1965), Pinchas Sheinbaum, veteran o f the labor pioneer
ovement has his son enlist in the para troopers where he loses
is life, the victim o f his fa th e r ’s nationalistic pride. In each o f
ese examples, it is clear tha t the fa ther symbolizes, among o ther
ings, the authority o f the o lder generation as well as the burden
f the Jewish past. It is on this altar tha t the son is sacrificed. For
izhar, Oz and o ther writers o f ou r generation, the conflict
etween the generations is irreconcilable. T he son is not saved as
the biblical story; he is instead bound and killed. We neither
ea r a voice calling out to the father, “Lay not thy hand upon the
d,” no r are we told, “And they went both o f them toge ther.”
ather, we are presented with what might be called a distorted
An exception to this prevalent reversal o f the biblical
otif worth mentioning is A.B. Yehoshua’s “T h ree Days and a
hild” (1968) in which one can discern elements o f healing and a
ope with the coming o f the blessing o f rain and the deliverance
f the child from death at the story’s end.
Whilst the
continues into the twentieth century,
specially among Israeli writers, the focus o f the crisis in the fam­
y has actually shifted into ano ther area, that o f the relationship
etween child and mother. Precursors o f this theme in general lit­
ra tu re are to be found in Marcel Proust’s
Remembrance of Things
(begun in 1913), and
Sons and Lovers
by D.H. Lawrence
913). It is clear from the latter tha t there is no longer a signifi­
ant role for the fa ther or husband to play in the family unit. One
ight say tha t the earlier rebellion, as found in Ibsen and Butler,
ad achieved its goal: the fa ther has been thrown ou t o f the house
nd the wife, now free o f his dom ination, is in control. T he femi­
ist tendency is clearly felt in American literature o f this period
ee the study by Leslie Fiedler,
Love and Death in the American
1966 ed., p. 62, etc.) T he m o ther assumes the place o f the
eposed puritanical father, bu t this new situation does not p ro ­
ide any solace for the child in search for the spiritual freedom;
the r, a new and even h a rd e r crisis develops, the well-known
edipal crisis, marked by ambivalent feelings o f love and hatred
wards the mother. The works o f Lawrence point to this crisis
en before it was defined by Freud. The maternal th rea t is not
e o f dea th bu t ra the r a kind o f castration; her suffocating love